B-144165, OCT. 12, 1960

B-144165: Oct 12, 1960

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GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 4. IS BASED. THE ONLY OTHER BID ON THE INSTRUCTION PLATES WAS IN THE AMOUNT OF $1. YOU STATE THAT WHEN THE BIDS WERE EXAMINED BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER HE NOTED THAT THE BID OF CHARLES F. HERBSTREITH COMPANY WAS POSSIBLY IN ERROR BECAUSE THE PRICE QUOTED BY THE COMPANY WAS VERY LOW FOR THE WORK AND MATERIALS WHICH WOULD BE REQUIRED IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THE JOB AND THAT ON SEPTEMBER 16. THE COMPANY WAS REQUESTED BY TELEGRAM TO REVIEW THE SPECIFICATIONS AND CONFIRM ITS BID PRICE. HERBSTREITH TELEPHONED THE CONTRACTING OFFICER STATING THAT HE HAD RETURNED THE SPECIFICATION SHEET WITH HIS BID BUT THAT HE HAD CHECKED HIS ESTIMATE SHEET AND THAT HE WAS REASONABLY SURE THAT HIS BID WAS CORRECT.

B-144165, OCT. 12, 1960

TO HONORABLE RAYMOND BLATTENBERGER, PUBLIC PRINTER, GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 4, 1960, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE ACTION TO BE TAKEN CONCERNING AN ERROR WHICH CHARLES F. HERBSTREITH COMPANY ALLEGES IT MADE IN ITS BID ON WHICH UNNUMBERED CONTRACT (PURCHASE ORDER NO. 5797), DATED SEPTEMBER 19, 1960, IS BASED.

THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE REQUESTED BIDS UNDER JACKET NUMBER 561737 FOR THE PRODUCTION OF 1,200 COPIES OF A LAMINATED PLASTIC GRAPHIC INSTRUCTION PLATE, SIZE 7 INCHES BY 8 3/4 INCHES BY 1/16 INCHES THICK. RESPONSE CHARLES F. HERBSTREITH COMPANY SUBMITTED A BID DATED SEPTEMBER 9, 1960, OFFERING TO FURNISH THE INSTRUCTION PLATES AT A PRICE OF $0.625 EACH OR FOR A TOTAL PRICE OF $750. THE ONLY OTHER BID ON THE INSTRUCTION PLATES WAS IN THE AMOUNT OF $1,240.42.

YOU STATE THAT WHEN THE BIDS WERE EXAMINED BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER HE NOTED THAT THE BID OF CHARLES F. HERBSTREITH COMPANY WAS POSSIBLY IN ERROR BECAUSE THE PRICE QUOTED BY THE COMPANY WAS VERY LOW FOR THE WORK AND MATERIALS WHICH WOULD BE REQUIRED IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THE JOB AND THAT ON SEPTEMBER 16, 1960, THE COMPANY WAS REQUESTED BY TELEGRAM TO REVIEW THE SPECIFICATIONS AND CONFIRM ITS BID PRICE. YOU STATE FURTHER THAT ON THE SAME DAY MR. HERBSTREITH TELEPHONED THE CONTRACTING OFFICER STATING THAT HE HAD RETURNED THE SPECIFICATION SHEET WITH HIS BID BUT THAT HE HAD CHECKED HIS ESTIMATE SHEET AND THAT HE WAS REASONABLY SURE THAT HIS BID WAS CORRECT. THE BID OF THE COMPANY WAS ACCEPTED ON SEPTEMBER 19, 1960, AND ON THE SAME DAY PURCHASE ORDER NO. 5797 WAS ISSUED REQUESTING DELIVERY OF THE INSTRUCTION PLATES. THE RECORD INDICATES THAT A SAMPLE OF A PREVIOUS ORDER AND A COPY OF THE SPECIFICATIONS WERE FORWARDED WITH THE PURCHASE ORDER.

IT IS REPORTED THAT ON SEPTEMBER 22, 1960, MR. HERBSTREITH TELEPHONED THE CONTRACTING OFFICER AND INFORMED HIM THAT HE HAD RECEIVED THE PURCHASE ORDER, A SAMPLE FROM A PREVIOUS ORDER AND A COPY OF THE SPECIFICATIONS; THAT MR. HERBSTREITH EXPLAINED THAT AFTER EXAMINING THE SAMPLE AND REVIEWING THE SPECIFICATIONS HE HAD FOUND THAT HIS BID WAS IN ERROR BECAUSE BOTH THE SAMPLE AND THE SPECIFICATIONS REQUIRED A LAMINATED THERMOSETTING PLASTIC (PHENOLIC) MATERIAL WHILE HIS BID WAS BASED ON A RIGID VINYL LAMINATED PLASTIC CHART; AND THAT MR. HERBSTREITH STATED THAT HIS FIRM DOES NOT HAVE THE MACHINERY AND KNOW-HOW FOR IMPREGNATING THE PAPER AND PREPARING IT FOR LAMINATION.

IN A CONFIRMING LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 23, 1960, MR. HERBSTREITH STATED THAT HE THOUGHT HE HAD SUBMITTED WITH HIS BID A SAMPLE OF A GENERAL ELECTRIC NAMEPLATE WHICH HIS FIRM MANUFACTURES AND WHICH SHOWS CONSTRUCTION OF THE CHART ON WHICH THE FIRM QUOTED; THAT AFTER SPEAKING TO THE CONTRACTING OFFICER HE DISCOVERED THAT HE HAD NOT SUBMITTED A SAMPLE WITH HIS BID; AND THAT NOT BEING FAMILIAR WITH PHENOLIC PLASTICS HE WAS UNDER THE IMPRESSION THAT A VINYL CHART WOULD BE SATISFACTORY. MR. HERBSTREITH REQUESTED THAT THE PURCHASE ORDER BE CANCELLED WITHOUT LIABILITY TO THE COMPANY.

IN YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 4, 1960, IT IS REPORTED THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER HAS STATED THAT AT THE TIME OF THE AWARD HE STILL BELIEVED THAT THE BID OF CHARLES F. HERBSTREITH COMPANY WAS ERRONEOUS, BUT THAT HE FELT THAT SINCE THE COMPANY HAD VERIFIED ITS BID HE HAD NO ALTERNATIVE BUT TO MAKE THE AWARD. IT IS ALSO REPORTED THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER HAS ADVISED THAT HE HAS SINCE CHECKED THE QUESTIONAIRE FORM WHICH WAS PREVIOUSLY SENT TO THE COMPANY AND THAT THE FORM DOES NOT INCLUDE INFORMATION WHICH WOULD INDICATE THAT THE COMPANY IS ABLE TO FURNISH A PLATE OF LAMINATED CONSTRUCTION AS DESCRIBED IN THE SPECIFICATIONS. IT IS ALSO REPORTED THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER HAS STATED THAT HE BELIEVES THAT THE PRICE OF $750 QUOTED BY THE COMPANY IS NOT CONSIDERED A FAIR AND REASONABLE PRICE TO PAY FOR 1,200 COPIES OF A PLATE AS DESCRIBED IN THE SPECIFICATIONS.

ON THE RECORD, THERE IS NO ROOM FOR DOUBT THAT THE BID OF THE COMPANY WAS BASED ON THE WRONG TYPE OF MATERIAL OF WHICH THE PLATE WAS TO BE MANUFACTURED. IN VIEW OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER'S BELIEF THAT THE PRICE QUOTED WAS ERRONEOUS, DESPITE THE VERIFICATION, THE CONTRACT INVOLVED MAY ACCORDINGLY BE CANCELLED WITHOUT LIABILITY TO THE COMPANY.

THE PAPERS, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE COMPANY'S LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 23, 1960, ARE RETURNED.