B-144843, MAR. 9, 1961

B-144843: Mar 9, 1961

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GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION: REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED JANUARY 16. A DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER RELIEF MAY BE GRANTED. BIDDERS WERE INVITED TO INSPECT THE VEHICLES OFFERED FOR SALE AND THEY WERE INSTRUCTED TO SUBMIT THEIR BIDS ON A SEPARATE BID CARD FOR EACH LOT NUMBER. LOT NO. 42 IS LISTED IN THE INVITATION AS A "1952 IHC CARRYALL.'. SHARTZER DID NOT RESPOND AND APPARENTLY WAS NOT PRESENT AT THE SALE. 1960 (THE LETTER IS REPORTED TO HAVE ACTUALLY BEEN SENT ON OR ABOUT JUNE 18. I WAS BIDDING ON SEVERAL PIECES OF EQUIPMENT (SIC) AND IN SO DOING I PUT THE WRONG BID ON A 1952 INTERNATIONAL PANEL TRUCK. IT IS NOTED THAT ON LOT NO. 43. WHICH IS THE SAME TYPE OF VEHICLE AS LOT NO. 42 (A 1952 IHC CARRYALL).

B-144843, MAR. 9, 1961

TO ADMINISTRATOR, GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED JANUARY 16, 1961, FROM THE FORMER ADMINISTRATOR, GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, CONCERNING A REQUEST FOR RELIEF FROM A MISTAKE IN BID, ALLEGED AFTER AWARD BY MR. E. SHARTZER, IN RESPONSE TO SPOT BID SALE NO. 6-U AND S-67-60. A DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER RELIEF MAY BE GRANTED.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION ISSUED AN ANNOUNCEMENT OF A "SPOT BID SALE" OF CERTAIN MOTOR VEHICLES. BIDDERS WERE INVITED TO INSPECT THE VEHICLES OFFERED FOR SALE AND THEY WERE INSTRUCTED TO SUBMIT THEIR BIDS ON A SEPARATE BID CARD FOR EACH LOT NUMBER. THE SALE PROCEDURE AS DESCRIBED IN THE INVITATION PROVIDED THAT AWARDS WOULD BE ANNOUNCED ORALLY AT THE SALE SITE FOLLOWING THE BID OPENING ON JUNE 15, 1960.

MR. E. SHARTZER SUBMITTED A BID CARD CONTAINING THE HIGH BID ON LOT NO. 42 OF $662.50. LOT NO. 42 IS LISTED IN THE INVITATION AS A "1952 IHC CARRYALL.' THE OTHER 25 BIDS RECEIVED FOR THE ITEM RANGED FROM $27.50 TO $375. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER REPORTS THAT AT THE BID OPENING HE CALLED MR. SHARTZER'S NAME IN ORDER TO CONFIRM HIS BID OF $662.50, BUT MR. SHARTZER DID NOT RESPOND AND APPARENTLY WAS NOT PRESENT AT THE SALE. MR. SHARTZER RECEIVED THE AWARD ON LOT NO. 42 AT THE BID PRICE OF $662.50.

BY LETTER DATED JULY 18, 1960 (THE LETTER IS REPORTED TO HAVE ACTUALLY BEEN SENT ON OR ABOUT JUNE 18, 1960), TO THE CONTRACTING OFFICER MR. SHARTZER MADE THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT:

"IN BIDDING ON SOME TRUCKS AND CARS ON JUNE 14, 1960 I MADE A MISTAKE OF PUTTING THE WRONG NUMBER ON A CARD. I WAS BIDDING ON SEVERAL PIECES OF EQUIPMENT (SIC) AND IN SO DOING I PUT THE WRONG BID ON A 1952 INTERNATIONAL PANEL TRUCK. ON MY WORK SHEET I HAD A BID OF $662.50 ON LOT NO. 40 A 1957 FORD WAGON. AND ON LOT NO. 42 I HAD A BID OF $227.50 AND I JUST GOT IT MIXED UP SOME WAY. * * *"

A WORKSHEET FORWARDED BY MR. SHARTZER INDICATES THAT HE INTENDED TO BID THE PRICES STATED IN HIS LETTER. IT IS NOTED THAT ON LOT NO. 43, WHICH IS THE SAME TYPE OF VEHICLE AS LOT NO. 42 (A 1952 IHC CARRYALL), MR. SHARTZER BID $227.50.

THE BIDDER OFFERS EVIDENCE INDICATING THAT HE DID NOT INTEND TO BID $662.50 ON THE ITEM IN QUESTION, BUT DID SO ONLY THROUGH A MISTAKE. IT IS FURTHER INDICATED THAT AT THE TIME OF BID OPENING THE CONTRACTING OFFICER HAD DOUBTS ABOUT THE ACCURACY OF THE HIGH BID PRICE SUBMITTED BY MR. SHARTZER, AND WOULD HAVE ATTEMPTED TO VERIFY THE BID IF MR. SHARTZER HAD BEEN PRESENT AT THE OPENING. UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES WE BELIEVE THAT THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE BID BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER DID NOT RESULT IN A VALID AND BINDING CONTRACT. SEE 35 COMP. GEN. 136. ACCORDINGLY, MR. E. SHARTZER MAY BE RELIEVED FROM THE TERMS OF THE SUBJECT CONTRACT.

WITH REGARD TO THE REQUEST THAT THE GSA BE AUTHORIZED TO GRANT RELIEF FOR MISTAKES IN BID PRESENTED AFTER AWARD IN SALES TRANSACTIONS, WHEN THE AMOUNT OF SUCH RELIEF DOES NOT EXCEED $1,000, UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES SIMILAR TO THOSE REFERRED TO IN OUR DECISION ON FEBRUARY 28, 1957, B-130238, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT SUCH AUTHORITY IS HEREBY GRANTED.