B-151830, SEP. 19, 1963

B-151830: Sep 19, 1963

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THE INVITATION WAS OPENED ON APRIL 17. FOUR BIDS WERE RECEIVED AS FOLLOWS: TABLE FIRESTONE TIRE AND RUBBER $20.00 EACH SECOND LOW BIDDER 30.42 EACH THIRD LOW BIDDER 31.00 EACH FOURTH LOW BIDDER 37.50 TO 41.20 EACH (PRICE VARIES WITH DESTINATION) IT IS REPORTED THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER NOTED THE DISPARITY OF THE FIRESTONE BID AS COMPARED WITH THE OTHER BIDS. WHILE HE WAS PREPARING TO REQUEST A VERIFICATION. 1963 FIRESTONE STATED THAT THE $20 QUOTATION WAS ONLY ITS ESTIMATED PRICE. THE BIDDER EXPLAINED THAT STILL LACKING COST DETAIL (WHICH WAS BEING PREPARED IN THE BIDDER'S LOS ANGELES OFFICE) BY THE MORNING OF APRIL 17. 1963 AWARD WAS MADE TO FIRESTONE AT ITS BID PRICE. THE BIDDER CONTENDS THAT IT WAS ENTITLED TO WITHDRAW ITS BID BECAUSE OF MISTAKE.

B-151830, SEP. 19, 1963

TO ADMINISTRATOR, GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION:

WE REFER TO THE REPORT OF JULY 25, 1963 FROM COMMISSIONER C. D. BEAN, CONCERNING THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO THE FIRESTONE TIRE AND RUBBER COMPANY UNDER INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. FPNVH-K-48843-RA-4-17-63, COVERING 2250 EACH 36-GALLON CAPACITY STERILIZED WATER BAGS FOR DELIVERY TO VARIOUS SPECIFIED LOCATIONS.

THE INVITATION WAS OPENED ON APRIL 17, 1963, AND FOUR BIDS WERE RECEIVED AS FOLLOWS:

TABLE

FIRESTONE TIRE AND RUBBER $20.00 EACH

SECOND LOW BIDDER 30.42 EACH

THIRD LOW BIDDER 31.00 EACH

FOURTH LOW BIDDER 37.50 TO 41.20 EACH

(PRICE VARIES WITH DESTINATION)

IT IS REPORTED THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER NOTED THE DISPARITY OF THE FIRESTONE BID AS COMPARED WITH THE OTHER BIDS; AND WHILE HE WAS PREPARING TO REQUEST A VERIFICATION, THE BIDDER CALLED THE CONTRACTING OFFICE TO ALLEGE ERROR. BY LETTER OF MAY 3, 1963 FIRESTONE STATED THAT THE $20 QUOTATION WAS ONLY ITS ESTIMATED PRICE, SUBJECT TO MODIFICATION OR WITHDRAWAL PENDING RECEIPT OF VERIFICATION OF QUOTATIONS TO BE OBTAINED FROM VENDORS FOR OUTSIDE PURCHASES OF VARIOUS COMPONENTS. THE BIDDER EXPLAINED THAT STILL LACKING COST DETAIL (WHICH WAS BEING PREPARED IN THE BIDDER'S LOS ANGELES OFFICE) BY THE MORNING OF APRIL 17, ITS OFFICE IN AKRON, OHIO, TELEGRAPHED INSTRUCTIONS TO ITS WASHINGTON, D.C. OFFICE TO WITHDRAW THE BID; BUT A DELAY IN TRANSMISSION OCCURRED, AND THE WASHINGTON REPRESENTATIVE DID NOT RECEIVE THE MESSAGE IN TIME. (THE BIDDER HAS FURNISHED COST DATA PREPARED BY ITS LOS ANGELES OFFICE WHICH INDICATES THAT ITS REALISTIC PRICE WOULD BE $39 PER UNIT RATHER THAN $20.)

THE CONTRACTING OFFICER CONCLUDED THAT FIRESTONE HAD NOT ESTABLISHED A VALID BASIS FOR BID WITHDRAWAL; AND ON JUNE 6, 1963 AWARD WAS MADE TO FIRESTONE AT ITS BID PRICE.

THE BIDDER CONTENDS THAT IT WAS ENTITLED TO WITHDRAW ITS BID BECAUSE OF MISTAKE. WHILE WE DO NOT FIND THAT THE BIDDER MADE A "MISTAKE IN BID" IN THE ACCEPTED SENSE, SEE B-136127, MAY 23, 1958, WE DOUBT WHETHER THE GOVERNMENT COULD INSIST UPON PERFORMANCE AT THIS PATENTLY UNREALISTIC PRICE. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER HIMSELF QUESTIONED THAT PRICE SINCE THE NEXT LOW BID WAS MORE THAN 50 PERCENT HIGHER. CF. B 149678, AUGUST 27, 1962.

UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, WE CONCLUDE THAT FIRESTONE MAY BE RELIEVED FROM THE TERMS OF THE CONTRACT. SEE 40 COMP. GEN. 290.