B-149981, OCT. 25, 1962

B-149981: Oct 25, 1962

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INCORPORATED: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR PROTEST REGARDING INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. THE FEDERAL SPECIFICATION REFERENCED IN THE INVITATION WAS CHANGED AND THE BID OPENING DATE WAS EXTENDED TO SEPTEMBER 25. IT IS STATED THAT YOU MAILED YOUR BID TO THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION. THAT SPECIAL NOTICE NO. 1 WAS MAILED AT A LATER DATE. THERE WAS SUBMITTED RECEIPT FOR CERTIFIED MAIL NO. 396872. SHOWING THAT A LETTER WAS MAILED FROM BENNING. IT IS ADMINISTRATIVELY REPORTED THAT NEITHER DOCUMENT WAS RECEIVED BY THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION. NOR HAVE THEY BEEN SUBSEQUENTLY RECEIVED. HAS ACKNOWLEDGED THAT A MAIL POUCH WAS LOST ON SEPTEMBER 12. THAT IF THE CERTIFIED LETTER WAS MAILED IN THE BENNING POST OFFICE BY 3:00 P.M.

B-149981, OCT. 25, 1962

TO ASSOCIATED WIPERS, INCORPORATED:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR PROTEST REGARDING INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. SFT 1895-63, ISSUED BY THE SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, REGIONAL OFFICE, GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION.

THE INVITATION, ISSUED ON AUGUST 30, 1962, REQUESTED BIDS TO BE OPENED ON SEPTEMBER 19, 1962, FOR THE PURPOSE OF ESTABLISHING AN INDEFINITE QUANTITY TERM CONTRACT FOR FURNISHING WIPING RAGS TO GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION STORES DEPOTS LOCATED IN CALIFORNIA FOR THE PERIOD OCTOBER 1, 1962, THROUGH MARCH 30, 1963. BY SPECIAL NOTICE NO. 1, ISSUED ON SEPTEMBER 17, 1962, THE FEDERAL SPECIFICATION REFERENCED IN THE INVITATION WAS CHANGED AND THE BID OPENING DATE WAS EXTENDED TO SEPTEMBER 25, 1962. SAID NOTICE ADVISED THAT BIDDERS SHOULD, PRIOR TO BID OPENING TIME, ACKNOWLEDGE ACCEPTANCE OF THE CHANGES SPECIFIED IN THE AMENDMENT BY NOTATION ON THE BID, WRITTEN OR TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION, OR BY EXECUTING AND RETURNING THE AMENDMENT, AND THAT FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THIS REQUIREMENT MIGHT BE CAUSE FOR REJECTION OF THE BID.

IT IS STATED THAT YOU MAILED YOUR BID TO THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, SAN FRANCISCO REGIONAL OFFICE, ON SEPTEMBER 12, 1962, BY CERTIFIED MAIL, AND THAT SPECIAL NOTICE NO. 1 WAS MAILED AT A LATER DATE, APPARENTLY BY ORDINARY MAIL. THERE WAS SUBMITTED RECEIPT FOR CERTIFIED MAIL NO. 396872, SHOWING THAT A LETTER WAS MAILED FROM BENNING, CALIFORNIA, TO THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, SAN FRANCISCO REGIONAL OFFICE, ON SEPTEMBER 12, 1962. THE RECEIPT DOES NOT, OF COURSE, SPECIFY THE CONTENTS OF THE ENVELOPE NOR DOES IT SHOW THE TIME OF MAILING.

IT IS ADMINISTRATIVELY REPORTED THAT NEITHER DOCUMENT WAS RECEIVED BY THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, SAN FRANCISCO REGIONAL OFFICE, PRIOR TO THE BID OPENING. NOR HAVE THEY BEEN SUBSEQUENTLY RECEIVED. THE POSTMASTER IN BENNING, CALIFORNIA, HAS ACKNOWLEDGED THAT A MAIL POUCH WAS LOST ON SEPTEMBER 12, 1962, AND THAT IF THE CERTIFIED LETTER WAS MAILED IN THE BENNING POST OFFICE BY 3:00 P.M. ON SEPTEMBER 12, 1962, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN CONTAINED IN THE MISSING POUCH.

IT IS REPORTED THAT IN A CONFERENCE WITH YOU THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION REGIONAL OFFICIALS HAVE AGREED TO WITHHOLD AWARD OF CONTRACTS AS LONG AS POSSIBLE IN ORDER TO ALLOW YOU TO LOCATE THE MISSING BID. YOU REQUEST THAT SINCE YOUR BID WAS LOST IN THE MAIL YOU BE ALLOWED TO RESUBMIT YOUR BID. YOU ALSO OFFER TO FURNISH A BOND IN THE FULL AMOUNT OF THE CONTRACT TO GUARANTEE THAT THE COPY WHICH YOU HOLD AND WOULD NOW SUBMIT IS IDENTICAL WITH THE ORIGINAL WHICH WAS LOST IN THE MAIL.

NINETEEN FIRMS SUBMITTED PRICES UNDER THIS INVITATION WHICH, OF COURSE, HAVE BEEN MADE PUBLIC. UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES IT WOULD NOT BE REASONABLE, NOR PERMISSIBLE, TO ALLOW YOU TO RESUBMIT YOUR BID. ALTHOUGH THERE IS NO REASON TO QUESTION YOUR GOOD FAITH, AWARD ON THE BASIS OF SELF -SERVING STATEMENTS WOULD NOT BE CONSISTENT WITH THE MAINTENANCE OF THE INTEGRITY OF THE COMPETITIVE BIDDING SYSTEM WHICH REQUIRES AWARD TO BE MADE TO THE LOW RESPONSIVE AND RESPONSIBLE BIDDER OF RECORD AT THE TIME OF THE OPENING, EXCEPT IN CERTAIN RECOGNIZED AREAS WHERE DETAILED PROCEDURES HAVE BEEN ESTABLISHED, AS IN LATE BID CASES.

WE HAVE CONSISTENTLY HELD THAT IT IS THE ABSOLUTE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE BIDDER TO SEE THAT HIS BID AND AMENDMENTS THERETO ARE RECEIVED AT THE PLACE AND AT OR PRIOR TO THE TIME SPECIFIED IN THE INVITATION. SEE DECISION OF DECEMBER 29, 1958, B-137314, COPY HEREWITH, WHICH ALSO INVOLVED A BID WHICH APPARENTLY WAS LOST IN THE MAIL. THIS SAME RULE APPLIES TO AMENDMENTS TO BIDS AND, SINCE IT IS REPORTED THAT SPECIAL NOTICE NO. 1 CHANGED THE SPECIFICATIONS IN A MANNER WHICH WOULD AFFECT THE PRICE OF THE WIPING RAGS, SPECIAL NOTICE NO. 1 WOULD ALSO HAVE TO BE RECEIVED, OTHERWISE YOUR BASIC BID WOULD NOT BE A RESPONSIVE BID. SEE 40 COMP. GEN. 48.

ACCORDINGLY, UNLESS YOUR BID AND ALSO SPECIAL NOTICE NO. 1 ARE RECEIVED PRIOR TO THE TIME OF AWARD, AND IT IS SHOWN THAT THEIR FAILURE TO ARRIVE ON TIME WAS DUE TO EXCUSABLE CAUSES AS SET FORTH IN SECTION 1-2.305 OF THE FEDERAL PROCUREMENT REGULATIONS, THERE IS NO BASIS FOR US TO QUESTION THE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION PROPOSED TO BE TAKEN IN THE MATTER.