B-150406, DEC. 18, 1962

B-150406: Dec 18, 1962

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GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 3. ALLEGES IT MADE IN ITS BID WHICH WAS ACCEPTED ON NOVEMBER 23. THE PAR PRICES FOR THIS JOB WERE ESTABLISHED BY THAT OFFICE AS $3.50 PER PAGE FOR THE FIRST 100 COPIES AND $0.08 PER PAGE FOR EACH ADDITIONAL 100 COPIES. PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS WERE ADVISED ON PAGE 11 OF THE SPECIFICATIONS AS FOLLOWS: "THE PRICES STIPULATED HEREIN ARE NOT INTENDED TO BE CONSIDERED AS THE ACTUAL PRICE WHICH WILL BE PAID FOR THE VARIOUS OPERATIONS REQUIRED DURING THE PERFORMANCE UNDER THE CONTRACT. "IN THE EVENT A PERCENTAGE IS QUOTED TO BE ADDED TO OR DEDUCTED FROM THE PRICES STIPULATED HEREIN IT SHALL APPLY UNIFORMLY TO BOTH PRICES LISTED.'.

B-150406, DEC. 18, 1962

TO PUBLIC PRINTER, GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 3, 1962, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE ACTION TO BE TAKEN CONCERNING AN ERROR WHICH BRACELAND BROTHERS, INC., ALLEGES IT MADE IN ITS BID WHICH WAS ACCEPTED ON NOVEMBER 23, 1962.

THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE REQUESTED BIDS UNDER GPO PROGRAM NO. 34 FOR THE PRINTING AND BINDING OF FEDERAL SPECIFICATIONS AND STANDARDS (REPRINTS) IN PAMPHLET FORM AS REQUIRED BY THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION DURING THE PERIOD BEGINNING DECEMBER 1, 1962, AND ENDING NOVEMBER 30, 1963. THE SPECIFICATIONS INCLUDED A SCHEDULE OF PRICES COMPUTED BY THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE AS PAR PRICES. THE PAR PRICES FOR THIS JOB WERE ESTABLISHED BY THAT OFFICE AS $3.50 PER PAGE FOR THE FIRST 100 COPIES AND $0.08 PER PAGE FOR EACH ADDITIONAL 100 COPIES. PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS WERE ADVISED ON PAGE 11 OF THE SPECIFICATIONS AS FOLLOWS:

"THE PRICES STIPULATED HEREIN ARE NOT INTENDED TO BE CONSIDERED AS THE ACTUAL PRICE WHICH WILL BE PAID FOR THE VARIOUS OPERATIONS REQUIRED DURING THE PERFORMANCE UNDER THE CONTRACT, BUT RATHER AS A BASE OR STARTING POINT FROM WHICH THE ACTUAL QUOTATION MAY BE DEVELOPED.

"EACH BIDDER SHALL SUBMIT HIS QUOTATION ON THE LAST PAGE HEREOF IN ONE OF THE FOLLOWING FORMS:

"THE QUOTATION MAY BE THE PRICES STIPULATED HEREIN WITHOUT CHANGE; OR IT MAY BE THE PRICES STIPULATED HEREIN TO BE INCREASED BY THE QUOTED PERCENTAGE; OR IT MAY BE THE PRICES STIPULATED HEREIN TO BE DECREASED BY THE QUOTED PERCENTAGE.

"IN THE EVENT A PERCENTAGE IS QUOTED TO BE ADDED TO OR DEDUCTED FROM THE PRICES STIPULATED HEREIN IT SHALL APPLY UNIFORMLY TO BOTH PRICES LISTED.'

ON PAGE 12 OF THE SPECIFICATIONS THERE APPEARED THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT: "/THE BIDDER SHALL ENTER ON THE LINE BELOW ONE OF THE FOLLOWING: BASIC PRICES WITHOUT CHANGE; OR BASIC PRICES PLUS -- PERCENT; OR BASIC PRICES MINUS -- PERCENT.)"

FOUR BIDS WERE RECEIVED AND OPENED ON NOVEMBER 23, 1962. BRACELAND BROTHERS, INC., QUOTED BASIC PRICES MINUS 20 PERCENT, WARE BROS. COMPANY QUOTED BASIC PRICES MINUS 2 PERCENT, ALLSTATE PRINTING COMPANY QUOTED BASIC PRICES PLUS 5 PERCENT, AND COLOR PRINTING CORPORATION QUOTED BASIC PRICES PLUS 40 PERCENT. ON NOVEMBER 23, 1962, AWARD WAS MADE TO BRACELAND BROTHERS, INC., AS LOW BIDDER.

IT IS REPORTED THAT ON NOVEMBER 29, 1962, MR. FINE OF THE PHILADELPHIA DISTRICT OFFICE OF THE SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION TELEPHONED THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ALLEGING THAT BRACELAND BROTHERS, INC., HAD MADE AN ERROR IN ITS BID AND REQUESTING THAT THE CONTRACT BE RESCINDED. IN A LETTER DATED NOVEMBER 29, 1962, THE PRESIDENT OF BRACELAND BROTHERS, INC., STATED THAT WHEN THE RESULTS OF THE BID OPENING WERE RECEIVED FROM ITS WASHINGTON REPRESENTATIVE, THE CORPORATION CHECKED ITS ESTIMATE SHEET AND NOTED THE WIDE VARIANCE BETWEEN ITS BID AND THAT OF THE NEXT LOWEST BIDDER AND THAT A FURTHER CHECK OF THE FIGURES ESTABLISHED THAT ITS BID REPRESENTED ONLY 72 PERCENT OF ITS COSTS ON THE JOB. THE PRESIDENT OF THE CORPORATION ALSO STATED THAT MR. HALLER, ONE OF ITS ESTIMATORS, HAD PREPARED THE BASIC FIGURES ON ITS ESTIMATE SHEET; THAT MR. HALLER WAS CALLED OUT OF THE OFFICE ON COMPANY BUSINESS ON NOVEMBER 21; AND THAT WHEN MR. MOYER, ITS CHIEF ESTIMATOR, CHECKED MR. HALLER'S PAPER WORK HE ASSUMED THAT THE 25 PERCENT IN THE MARKUP COLUMN AT THE BOTTOM OF THE ESTIMATE WAS A "PLUS" 25 PERCENT, WHEN ACTUALLY IT HAD BEEN USED AS A 25 PERCENT DEDUCTION. IT IS FURTHER STATED THAT THIS ERROR WAS NATURAL SINCE THE CORPORATION NEVER USES THIS COLUMN FOR MINUS PERCENTAGE; THAT IN THE RECENT PAST THE CORPORATION HAS BEEN EXPERIMENTING WITH VARIOUS PRICE REDUCTIONS TO HELP IT OBTAIN MORE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE WORK OF A SHORT-TERM, IMMEDIATE TURNOVER NATURE; AND THAT IN VIEW OF THE SIZE AND DELIVERY CYCLE THERE WAS NO REASON FOR MR. MOYER TO ASSUME THAT MR. HALLER WOULD EXPERIMENTALLY INCLUDE A MINUS PERCENTAGE, PARTICULARLY SINCE THIS MINUS PERCENTAGE WAS CONSIDERABLY LARGER THAN THAT WHICH HAD BEEN USED WITH SHORT-TERM WORK.

IN SUPPORT OF ITS ALLEGATION OF ERROR, THE CORPORATION SUBMITTED ITS ESTIMATE SHEETS. YOU STATE THAT BY ERRONEOUSLY DEDUCTING 25 PERCENT FROM THE TOTAL COST SHOWN ON THE ESTIMATE SHEET THE CORPORATION ARRIVED AT A PAGE PRICE OF $2.82 ON THE 8-PAGE PAMPHLET, $2.48 ON THE 16-PAGE PAMPHLET, AND $2.21 ON THE 64-PAGE PAMPHLET; THAT THE PAR PRICE IN THE GPO SPECIFICATIONS IS $3.50 PER PAGE FOR PAMPHLETS CONTAINING ANY NUMBER OF PAGES; AND THAT HAD THE CORPORATION ADDED THE 25 PERCENT TO THE BASIC PRICES ON EACH OF THE PAMPHLETS IT WOULD HAVE ARRIVED AT A PRICE OF $4.70 PER PAGE FOR THE 8-PAGE PAMPHLETS, $4.13 PER PAGE FOR THE 16-PAGE PAMPHLETS, AND $3.68 PER PAGE FOR THE 64-PAGE PAMPHLETS.

YOU STATE THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER HAS ADVISED THAT DUE TO THE EXTRA HEAVY WORKLOAD THAT EXISTED AT THE TIME THE BIDS WERE EVALUATED HE FAILED TO NOTE THE POSSIBILITY OF ERROR IN THE BID FROM BRACELAND BROTHERS, INC.; THAT HE BELIEVES THAT HE SHOULD HAVE NOTED THAT THE DISCOUNT OF 20 PERCENT AS OFFERED BY THE CORPORATION WAS ERRONEOUS BECAUSE THE GPO PAR PRICES ARE CONSIDERED REASONABLE TO PAY FOR THIS TYPE OF WORK; AND THAT HE FEELS THEREFORE THAT HE SHOULD HAVE GIVEN THE CORPORATION AN OPPORTUNITY TO REVIEW ITS QUOTED PRICE BEFORE MAKING AWARD ON THIS CONTRACT.

ON THE BASIS OF THE FACTS AND EVIDENCE OF RECORD, THERE APPEARS TO BE NO DOUBT THAT AN ERROR WAS MADE BY THE CORPORATION, AS ALLEGED. UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES AND SINCE ERROR WAS ALLEGED PROMPTLY, THIS OFFICE WILL NOT OBJECT TO THE CANCELLATION OF THE AWARD MADE TO BRACELAND BROTHERS, INC., AS RECOMMENDED BY YOU.