B-147250, OCT. 9, 1961

B-147250: Oct 9, 1961

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TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR DEPARTMENT'S LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 20. TO HAVE BEEN MADE IN ITS BID SUBMITTED IN RESPONSE TO INVITATION NO. IS SUBJECT TO APPROVAL BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER. "SPECIFICATIONS SET FORTH IN THIS BID INVITATION ADVISE THE BIDDER EXACTLY WHAT IS REQUIRED. THE ONLY OTHER BID RECEIVED WAS IN THE AMOUNT OF $12. AWARD WAS MADE TO BASE RENTALS ON BOTH ITEMS NOS. 1 AND 2 (CONTRACT NO. 12 -11-005-22536). BASE RENTALS REQUESTED RELEASE FROM THE CONTRACT FOR THE REASON THAT ITS BID WAS BASED ON AN ERRONEOUS QUOTATION BY ITS SUPPLIER. IT IS STATED IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE FINDING BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER THAT THE RIGHT OF BASE RENTALS TO PROCEED WAS TERMINATED AND THE TRAILERS ORDERED FROM TRAVELEZE TRAILER COMPANY.

B-147250, OCT. 9, 1961

TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR DEPARTMENT'S LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 20, 1961, WITH ENCLOSURE, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE ACTION TO BE TAKEN WITH RESPECT TO AN ERROR ALLEGED BY BASE RENTALS AND LEASING COMPANY, INC., BURBANK, CALIFORNIA (HEREINAFTER REFERRED TO AS BASE RENTALS), TO HAVE BEEN MADE IN ITS BID SUBMITTED IN RESPONSE TO INVITATION NO. R5 61-106 ISSUED BY THE FOREST SERVICE, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, ON MAY 25, 1961.

THE INVITATION REQUESTED BIDS--- TO BE OPENED JUNE 13, 1961--- FOR FURNISHING EIGHT HOUSE TRAILERS IN ACCORDANCE WITH SPECIFICATIONS MADE A PART OF THE INVITATION. ARTICLE 6 OF THE SPECIAL CONDITIONS INCLUDED IN THE INVITATION PROVIDED:

"6. DEVIATION FROM SPECIFICATIONS:

"THE FOREST SERVICE DESIRES TO PURCHASE STANDARD PRODUCTION TRAILERS INSOFAR AS POSSIBLE. ARRANGEMENT OF TRAILERS REGARDING LOCATIONS OF BEDROOM, SHOWER, TOILET, CABINETS, ETC., IS SUBJECT TO APPROVAL BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER, AND HIS DECISION SHALL BE FINAL.

"SPECIFICATIONS SET FORTH IN THIS BID INVITATION ADVISE THE BIDDER EXACTLY WHAT IS REQUIRED; HOWEVER, TRAILERS OFFERED THAT DEVIATE SLIGHTLY FROM THE SPECIFICATIONS MAY BE CONSIDERED PROVIDED THE BIDDER CLEARLY STATES HOW HIS TRAILER DIFFERS FROM THE ADVERTISED REQUIREMENTS AND WHERE SUCH DEVIATIONS DO NOT DETRACT FROM THE UTILITY OF THE TRAILERS FOR FOREST SERVICE USE.'

IN RESPONSE TO THE INVITATION, BASE RENTALS SUBMITTED A BID IN THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF $20,051.24 INCLUDING $10,155.92 ON THE FOUR TRAILERS COVERED BY ITEM NO. 1. IN ITS BID IT STATED THAT THE TRAILERS WOULD BE MANUFACTURED BY NASHUA MANUFACTURING COMPANY, TULARE, CALIFORNIA. THE ONLY OTHER BID RECEIVED WAS IN THE AMOUNT OF $12,995 ON ITEM NO. 1 BY TRAVELEZE TRAILER COMPANY, ITS TOTAL BID NOT BEING FOUND IN THE FILE. ON JUNE 15, 1961, AWARD WAS MADE TO BASE RENTALS ON BOTH ITEMS NOS. 1 AND 2 (CONTRACT NO. 12 -11-005-22536).

BY ITS LETTER DATED JULY 8, 1961, BASE RENTALS REQUESTED RELEASE FROM THE CONTRACT FOR THE REASON THAT ITS BID WAS BASED ON AN ERRONEOUS QUOTATION BY ITS SUPPLIER, NASHUA MANUFACTURING COMPANY, WHICH COMPANY REFUSED TO FURNISH THE TRAILERS IN ACCORDANCE WITH ITS QUOTATION SINCE THE SPECIFICATIONS IN THE INVITATION WOULD REQUIRE MUCH GREATER MODIFICATION OF ITS STANDARD TRAILERS THAN HAD BEEN ANTICIPATED. IT IS STATED IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE FINDING BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER THAT THE RIGHT OF BASE RENTALS TO PROCEED WAS TERMINATED AND THE TRAILERS ORDERED FROM TRAVELEZE TRAILER COMPANY. THE QUESTION PRESENTED IS WHETHER BASE RENTALS MAY BE RELEASED FROM THE CONTRACT AND NOT CHARGED WITH THE EXCESS COST OF PROCURING THE TRAILERS ELSEWHERE.

IN A MEMORANDUM DATED JULY 6, 1961, BY THE REGIONAL ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES OFFICER, IT IS STATED THAT THE STANDARD PRODUCTION TRAILERS OF NASHUA MANUFACTURING COMPANY "FAR FROM MEET OUR SPECIFICATIONS, AND, IN FACT, THE WORKMANSHIP THAT WE VIEWED WAS EXCEEDINGLY POOR.' THERE IS NOTED ALSO THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT IN A MEMORANDUM DATED JUNE 27, 1961, FROM THE CONTRACTING OFFICER'S REPRESENTATIVE TO THE REGIONAL SUPPLY OFFICER:

"AS DISCUSSED WITH YOUR OFFICE PRIOR TO OUR TULARE VISIT, THERE WAS SOME QUESTION THESE TRAILERS WOULD BE OF DESIRED QUALITY AND IN COMPLIANCE DUE TO PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE WITH NASHUA TRAILERS. * * *"

ORDINARILY, IF A CONTRACTOR SUBMITS A BID BASED UPON AN ERRONEOUS QUOTATION FROM ITS SUPPLIER, THAT IS A MATTER WITH WHICH THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT CONCERNED AND THE CONTRACTOR MUST ASSUME THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE ERROR OR LOOK TO ITS SUPPLIER FOR ADJUSTMENT IN THE MATTER. 6 COMP. GEN. 504; 18 ID. 28. IN THE INSTANT MATTER, HOWEVER, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER STATES THAT AWARD SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN MADE WITHOUT VERIFICATION OF BASE RENTALS' BID--- WHICH BID WAS BASED ON A QUOTATION COVERING TRAILERS WHICH WOULD NOT COMPLY WITH THE SPECIFICATIONS--- SINCE ITS BID WAS TOO LOW FOR TRAILERS THAT WOULD MEET THE SPECIFICATIONS. THIS CONCLUSION APPEARS THE MORE APPROPRIATE IN VIEW OF THE THEN-EXISTING DOUBT--- ARISING FROM PRIOR EXPERIENCE--- AS TO WHETHER NASHUA TRAILERS WOULD MEET THE SPECIFICATIONS. ACCORDINGLY, WE OFFER NO OBJECTION TO RELEASE OF BASE RENTALS FROM THE CONTRACT WITHOUT LIABILITY.

AS REQUESTED, THE FILE TRANSMITTED WITH THE LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 20, 1961, IS RETURNED HEREWITH.