B-145601, APR. 20, 1961

B-145601: Apr 20, 1961

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VETERANS ADMINISTRATION SUPPLY DEPOT: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER (7023/134N2) DATED APRIL 12. MAY BE AUTHORIZED TO WITHDRAW ITS BID BECAUSE OF AN ERROR ALLEGED BY THE COMPANY TO HAVE BEEN MADE IN THE BID SUBMITTED IN RESPONSE TO INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. THE ABSTRACT OF BIDS SHOWS THAT NINE BIDS WERE RECEIVED IN RESPONSE TO THE INVITATION. YOU STATE THAT AFTER BIDS WERE OPENED ON APRIL 5. IT WAS NOTED THAT THE MACALASTER BICKNELL COMPANY OFFERED A MODEL NUMBER WHICH DIFFERED FROM THE MODEL OFFERED BY THE SPECIFIED MANUFACTURER OF THE EQUIPMENT PROPOSED TO BE FURNISHED. THEREUPON THE COMPANY WAS CONTACTED BY TELEPHONE FOR VERIFICATION OF ITS BID. WAS REQUESTED TO SUBMIT EVIDENCE WHICH WOULD SUBSTANTIATE ITS ERROR.

B-145601, APR. 20, 1961

TO CHIEF, MARKETING DIVISION FOR TECHNICAL AND SCIENTIFIC SUPPLY, VETERANS ADMINISTRATION SUPPLY DEPOT:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER (7023/134N2) DATED APRIL 12, 1961, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTING OUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER MACALASTER BICKNELL COMPANY, PROVIDENCE, ROHDE ISLAND, MAY BE AUTHORIZED TO WITHDRAW ITS BID BECAUSE OF AN ERROR ALLEGED BY THE COMPANY TO HAVE BEEN MADE IN THE BID SUBMITTED IN RESPONSE TO INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. M6-85-61 ISSUED MARCH 2, 1961.

THE INVITATION SOLICITED BIDS FOR FURNISHING FIRM QUANTITIES OF "SPECTROPHOTOMETER, COLORIMETER, PHOTOELECTRIC" MEETING VETERANS ADMINISTRATION SPECIFICATIONS NO. 4397380, DATED FEBRUARY 14, 1961, WITH DELIVERIES TO BE MADE DURING 1961 TO VETERANS ADMINISTRATION SUPPLY DEPOTS LOCATED AT SOMERVILLE, NEW JERSEY, WILMINGTON, CALIFORNIA, AND HINES, ILLINOIS, AS INDICATED IN THE BID INVITATION.

THE ABSTRACT OF BIDS SHOWS THAT NINE BIDS WERE RECEIVED IN RESPONSE TO THE INVITATION, WITH THE UNIT BID OF MACALASTER BICKNELL COMPANY BEING $560. THE OTHER BIDS RANGED FROM $582.87 TO $1,240.

YOU STATE THAT AFTER BIDS WERE OPENED ON APRIL 5, 1961, DURING THE EVALUATION OF ALL BIDS ON APRIL 6, IT WAS NOTED THAT THE MACALASTER BICKNELL COMPANY OFFERED A MODEL NUMBER WHICH DIFFERED FROM THE MODEL OFFERED BY THE SPECIFIED MANUFACTURER OF THE EQUIPMENT PROPOSED TO BE FURNISHED. THEREUPON THE COMPANY WAS CONTACTED BY TELEPHONE FOR VERIFICATION OF ITS BID, AND THE COMPANY AFTER REVIEWING THE SPECIFICATIONS FOR THE ITEM CLAIMED ERROR IN ITS BID AS TO THE MODEL OFFERED. THE BIDDER, THEREFORE, WAS REQUESTED TO SUBMIT EVIDENCE WHICH WOULD SUBSTANTIATE ITS ERROR, AS ALLEGED, TOGETHER WITH A COPY OF ITS CURRENT PRICE LISTS. YOU FURTHER STATE THAT SINCE THIS IS THE FIRST REQUEST FOR BIDS UNDER THIS SPECIFICATION, NO PAST HISTORY IS AVAILABLE WHICH COVERS THIS TYPE OF EQUIPMENT.

BY LETTER DATED APRIL 6, 1961, THE COMPANY CONFIRMED THE ERROR, AS ALLEGED, EXPLAINING THAT IT HAD MISINTERPRETED SECTION 3.1.1.3.3 OF THE APPLICABLE SPECIFICATION WHICH CALLED FOR AN "EXIT SLIT" WHICH WOULD PRODUCE A FIXED BAND WIDTH OF 20 MILLIMICRONS AND THAT THIS "EXIT SLIT" CHANGES THE BASIC MODEL FROM A MODEL 6A, WHICH IT QUOTED ON, TO A MODEL 6D. THE BIDDER ADVISED THAT THE WORKSHEETS USED IN ARRIVING AT ITS QUOTED PRICE HAD BEEN DESTROYED, BUT FORWARDED A COPY OF THE MANUFACTURER'S CURRENT BROCHURE AND PRICE LIST TO SHOW THE DIFFERENCE IN THE TWO INSTRUMENTS. MACALASTER BICKNELL COMPANY REQUESTED PERMISSION TO WITHDRAW ITS BID BECAUSE IT HAD ERRED IN FAILING TO QUOTE ON THE CORRECT EQUIPMENT.

THE RECORD LEAVES LITTLE DOUBT, IF ANY, THAT THE BIDDER MADE AN ERROR, AS ALLEGED, IN SUBMITTING ITS BID PURSUANT TO INVITATION NO. M6 85-61. ACCORDINGLY, AND SINCE IT WAS APPARENT TO YOU THAT THE BID WAS POSSIBLY ERRONEOUS AND SINCE UPON REQUEST FOR VERIFICATION PRIOR TO AWARD THE COMPANY ALLEGED THAT IT MADE AN ERROR IN SUBMITTING ITS BID, ACCEPTANCE OF THE COMPANY'S BID WOULD NOT RESULT IN A VALID AND BINDING CONTRACT. THE BID OF MACALASTER BICKNELL COMPANY THEREFORE MAY BE DISREGARDED IN MAKING AWARD PURSUANT TO THE INVITATION.

THE PAPERS SUBMITTED WITH YOUR LETTER, EXCEPT THE ABSTRACT OF BIDS, ARE RETURNED.