B-149141, JUN. 22, 1962

B-149141: Jun 22, 1962

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NATIONAL MEDIATION BOARD: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 11. THE INVITATION FOR BIDS PROVIDES: "THE NATIONAL MEDIATION BOARD WILL NOT ACCEPT A BID FOR FURNISHING COPIES OF TRANSCRIPTS TO THE GOVERNMENT AT A COST PER PAGE LESS THAN ONE-HALF THE PRICE BID FOR FURNISHING COPIES OF TRANSCRIPTS TO THE PUBLIC IN ORDINARY DELIVERY.'. BY ORDINARY DELIVERY (ITEM J) IS 15 CENTS PER PAGE. THIS IS MORE THAN DOUBLE THE AMOUNT OF HIS BID OF 5 CENTS FOR FURNISHING SUCH TRANSCRIPTS TO THE BOARD AND IS THUS CONTRARY TO THE ABOVE -QUOTED PROVISION OF THE INVITATION. IS NOT RESPONSIVE TO THE TERMS OF THE INVITATION. SHORTLY AFTER BIDS WERE OPENED SULLIVAN ADVISED THAT AN ERROR HAD BEEN MADE IN ITS BID IN TRANSCRIBING THE PRICE OF ITEM J TO THE FORMAL BID DOCUMENTS FROM ITS WORK COPY.

B-149141, JUN. 22, 1962

TO THE CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL MEDIATION BOARD:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 11, 1962, CONCERNING THE BID SUBMITTED BY THE SULLIVAN REPORTING COMPANY IN RESPONSE TO AN INVITATION FOR BIDS OPENED ON JUNE 7, 1962, FOR STENOGRAPHIC REPORTING SERVICES FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1963.

THE INVITATION FOR BIDS PROVIDES:

"THE NATIONAL MEDIATION BOARD WILL NOT ACCEPT A BID FOR FURNISHING COPIES OF TRANSCRIPTS TO THE GOVERNMENT AT A COST PER PAGE LESS THAN ONE-HALF THE PRICE BID FOR FURNISHING COPIES OF TRANSCRIPTS TO THE PUBLIC IN ORDINARY DELIVERY.'

SULLIVAN'S BID FOR FURNISHING TRANSCRIPTS TO THE PUBLIC ELSEWHERE (OTHER THAN WASHINGTON, D.C.) BY ORDINARY DELIVERY (ITEM J) IS 15 CENTS PER PAGE. THIS IS MORE THAN DOUBLE THE AMOUNT OF HIS BID OF 5 CENTS FOR FURNISHING SUCH TRANSCRIPTS TO THE BOARD AND IS THUS CONTRARY TO THE ABOVE -QUOTED PROVISION OF THE INVITATION. THE BID, THEREFORE, IS NOT RESPONSIVE TO THE TERMS OF THE INVITATION.

SHORTLY AFTER BIDS WERE OPENED SULLIVAN ADVISED THAT AN ERROR HAD BEEN MADE IN ITS BID IN TRANSCRIBING THE PRICE OF ITEM J TO THE FORMAL BID DOCUMENTS FROM ITS WORK COPY. IT IS ALLEGED THAT THE PRICE FOR ITEM J SHOULD HAVE BEEN 10 CENTS PER PAGE, AND SULLIVAN REQUESTS CORRECTION OF ITS BID ACCORDINGLY.

IN VIEW OF THE SPECIFIC REQUIREMENT OF THE INVITATION THAT THE COST OF FURNISHING COPIES OF TRANSCRIPTS TO THE BOARD BE NOT LESS THAN ONE HALF OF THE PRICE FOR FURNISHING COPIES OF TRANSCRIPTS TO THE PUBLIC IN ORDINARY DELIVERY, THE FAILURE TO COMPLY THEREWITH IS A MATERIAL VARIATION AFFECTING PRICE AND MAY NOT BE WAIVED AS A MERE INFORMALITY. SEE 30 COMP. GEN. 179.

WITH RESPECT TO SULLIVAN'S REQUEST THAT THE BID BE CORRECTED TO CORRESPOND WITH HIS ALLEGED INTENDED PRICE, THE FOLLOWING QUOTATION FROM OUR DECISION OF JUNE 5, 1959, B-139329, 38 COMP. GEN. 819, WOULD APPEAR TO BE DISPOSITIVE OF THE QUESTION:

"THE QUESTION THEN ARISES AS TO WHETHER A BID WHICH IS NOT RESPONSIVE TO THE INVITATION MAY BE CORRECTED ON THE BASIS OF AN ALLEGATION THAT THE REASON FOR THE BID BEING NONRESPONSIBLE WAS AN OVERSIGHT OR A MISTAKE. OUR DECISION OF JANUARY 30, 1958, B-134931, WHICH INVOLVED A SITUATION WHERE A BIDDER HAD INADVERTENTLY SUBMITTED THE WRONG SAMPLE WITH ITS BID AND ATTEMPTED TO SUBMIT A NEW SAMPLE AFTER THE BID OPENING, IT WAS STATED:

"THE QUESTION AS TO WHETHER A BID IS RESPONSIVE TO THE INVITATION IS FOR DETERMINATION UPON THE BASIS OF THE BID AS SUBMITTED AND IT IS NOT BELIEVED THAT IT WOULD BE PROPER TO CONSIDER THE REASON FOR THE UNRESPONSIVENESS, WHETHER DUE TO MISTAKE OR OTHERWISE.'

"IT IS PROBABLY THAT THE MAJORITY OF UNRESPONSIVE BIDS ARE DUE TO OVERSIGHT OR ERROR, SUCH AS THE FAILURE TO QUOTE A PRICE, TO SIGN THE BID, TO FURNISH A BID BOND, TO SUBMIT REQUIRED SAMPLES OR DATA, OR THE SUBMISSION OF THE WRONG SAMPLE, INCOMPLETE DATA, OR STATEMENTS THE ACTUAL MEANING OF WHICH WAS NOT INTENDED, ETC. AN UNRESPONSIVE BID DOES NOT CONSTITUTE AN OFFER WHICH MAY PROPERLY BE ACCEPTED, AND TO PERMIT A BIDDER TO MAKE HIS BID RESPONSIVE BY CHANGING, ADDING TO, OR DELETING A MATERIAL PART OF THE BID ON THE BASIS OF AN ERROR ALLEGED AFTER THE OPENING WOULD BE TANTAMOUNT TO PERMITTING A BIDDER TO SUBMIT A NEW BID. IT IS OUR OPINION THAT AN ALLEGATION OF ERROR IS PROPER FOR CONSIDERATION ONLY IN CASES WHERE THE BID IS RESPONSIVE TO THE INVITATION AND IS OTHERWISE PROPER FOR ACCEPTANCE.'

FOR THE FOREGOING REASONS YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THE BID OF THE SULLIVAN REPORTING COMPANY IS NOT A RESPONSIVE BID AND THAT IT MAY NOT BE CORRECTED TO MAKE IT A RESPONSIVE BID AND ELIGIBLE FOR AWARD.