B-144529, NOV. 30, 1960

B-144529: Nov 30, 1960

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TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR: WE HAVE RECEIVED FOR CONSIDERATION UNDER LETTER OF NOVEMBER 28. F3 WAS $75 TO $100. AWARD WAS MADE ON OCTOBER 4. F2 AND THAT THE BID AMOUNT WAS PLACED BY INADVERTENCE OPPOSITE ITEM NO. BECAUSE IT WAS NEITHER AT THE LOCATION INDICATED IN THE INVITATION NOR AT THE PLACE TO WHICH HE WAS DIRECTED FROM THE FIRST LOCATION HE HAD HAD NO OPPORTUNITY TO EXAMINE THE ITEM. THE ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT CONFIRMS THAT ITEM F3 WAS AT A THIRD LOCATION AT THE TIME IN QUESTION. F3 IS CONSIDERABLY HIGHER THAN THE NEXT BID. IT IS OUR POSITION THAT A MERE PRICE DIFFERENCE IN THIS TYPE OF CASE DOES NOT NECESSARILY PLACE A CONTRACTING OFFICER ON NOTICE OF THE PROBABILITY OF ERROR AS WOULD A SIMILAR PRICE DIFFERENCE ON NEW EQUIPMENT OR SUPPLIES.

B-144529, NOV. 30, 1960

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR:

WE HAVE RECEIVED FOR CONSIDERATION UNDER LETTER OF NOVEMBER 28, 1960, WITH ENCLOSURES, FROM THE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT SECRETARY, A QUESTION ON THE VALIDITY OF AN AWARD MADE UNDER ITEM NO. F3 OF INVITATION NO. 250- 61-463, ISSUED BY THE BILLINGS AREA OFFICE, BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS, ON AUGUST 30, 1960, FOR THE SALE OF VARIOUS ITEMS OF SURPLUS PROPERTY.

MR. GORDON HANSON SUBMITTED BIDS ON THE FOLLOWING ITEMS:

TABLE

ITEM NUMBER AND DESCRIPTION BID PRICE

B2. PICKUP, WILLYS, 1951, 1 TON $127.00

B3. TRUCK, PICKUP, 1/2 TON, FORD, 1954 111.00

F3. PICKUP, 1/2 TON, CHEV., 1951 219.00

THE AGENCY'S ESTIMATE OF SALE VALUE ON ITEM NO. F3 WAS $75 TO $100, AND THE OTHER EIGHT BIDS ON THE ITEM RANGED FROM $32.50 TO $157.77. ACCORDINGLY, AWARD WAS MADE ON OCTOBER 4, 1960, FOR THE ITEM TO MR. HANSON. BY LETTER OF THE NEXT DAY MR. HANSON ADVISED THE AGENCY THAT HE HAD BID ON ITEM NO. F2 AND NOT F3. IN FURTHER CORRESPONDENCE THE BIDDER ASSERTED THAT HE HAD INTENDED BIDDING ON ITEM NO. F2 AND THAT THE BID AMOUNT WAS PLACED BY INADVERTENCE OPPOSITE ITEM NO. F3. IN SUPPORT OF HIS CONTENTION MR. HANSON POINTED OUT THAT HE HAD ATTEMPTED TO INSPECT ITEM NO. F3, BUT BECAUSE IT WAS NEITHER AT THE LOCATION INDICATED IN THE INVITATION NOR AT THE PLACE TO WHICH HE WAS DIRECTED FROM THE FIRST LOCATION HE HAD HAD NO OPPORTUNITY TO EXAMINE THE ITEM. IT APPEARS THAT HE HAD EXAMINED THE OTHER ITEMS ON WHICH HE HAD BID INCLUDING F2. THE ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT CONFIRMS THAT ITEM F3 WAS AT A THIRD LOCATION AT THE TIME IN QUESTION.

MR. HANSON'S BID ON ITEM NO. F3 IS CONSIDERABLY HIGHER THAN THE NEXT BID. IT IS OUR POSITION THAT A MERE PRICE DIFFERENCE IN THIS TYPE OF CASE DOES NOT NECESSARILY PLACE A CONTRACTING OFFICER ON NOTICE OF THE PROBABILITY OF ERROR AS WOULD A SIMILAR PRICE DIFFERENCE ON NEW EQUIPMENT OR SUPPLIES, SINCE PRICES BID ON SURPLUS VARY GREATLY DEPENDING ON THE USE INTENDED BY THE BIDDER. IN THIS INSTANCE, HOWEVER, THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION, BESIDE THE PRICE DIFFERENCE, THE INABILITY OF THE BIDDER TO EXAMINE THE ITEM, AND THE UNLIKELIHOOD THAT A BIDDER WOULD OFFER APPROXIMATELY TWICE AS MUCH FOR A 1951 TRUCK AS HE WOULD FOR AN EQUIVALENT MODEL MANUFACTURED THREE YEARS LATER. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, AND THE SMALL AMOUNT INVOLVED, THE AWARD IN QUESTION SHOULD BE WITHDRAWN.

THE ENCLOSURES TO THE LETTER OF NOVEMBER 28, 1960, ARE RETURNED AS REQUESTED.