B-152445, OCT. 4, 1963

B-152445: Oct 4, 1963

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CANCELLATION IS REQUESTED BECAUSE OF AN ALLEGED ERROR IN BID UPON WHICH THE CONTRACT WAS BASED. THE CLAIM OF ERROR WAS SUPPORTED BY AN EXPLANATION HOW THE ERROR OCCURRED AND AN AFFIDAVIT BY ITS CORPORATE VICE PRESIDENT. THE ERROR RESULTED FROM A CLERICAL MISTAKE IN ENTERING BID PRICES FOR ITEMS 21 THROUGH 24 WHICH WERE INTENDED FOR A DIFFERENT TYPE OF CHEAPER TYPEWRITER RIBBON. THE CONTRACTOR ALSO FURNISHED A PRICE LIST WHICH SHOWS A PRICE DIFFERENTIAL OF ABOUT 30 PERCENT BETWEEN THE SELECTRIC RIBBONS REQUIRED BY THE INVITATION AND THE ELECTROMATIC RIBBONS UPON WHICH THE CONTRACTOR'S BID WAS BASED. THERE IS A 25 TO 72 PERCENT DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PRICES BID ON IBM ELECTROMATIC RIBBONS AND THE PRICES BID ON RIBBONS FOR THE IBM SELECTRIC TYPEWRITER.

B-152445, OCT. 4, 1963

TO ADMINISTRATOR, GENERAL SERVICES:

BY LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 5, 1963, WITH ENCLOSURES, YOU SUBMITTED FOR OUR CONSIDERATION AND APPROVAL THE REQUEST OF THE U.S. CARBON AND RIBBON MFG. CO., INC., FOR CANCELLATION OF CONTRACT NO. GS-00S 27997AWARDED ON JUNE 28, 1963, FOR AN INDEFINITE QUANTITY OF NYLON TYPEWRITER RIBBONS FOR USE ON IBM SELECTRIC TYPEWRITERS DURING THE PERIOD AUGUST 1, 1963, THROUGH JUNE 30, 1964. CANCELLATION IS REQUESTED BECAUSE OF AN ALLEGED ERROR IN BID UPON WHICH THE CONTRACT WAS BASED.

IN RESPONSE TO INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. FPNSO-9J-1845-A-5-8-63, ISSUED ON APRIL 18, 1963, BY THE FEDERAL SUPPLY SERVICE, PROCUREMENT OPERATIONS DIVISION, NEW YORK, NEW YORK, U.S. CARBON AND RIBBON MFG. COMPANY SUBMITTED THE LOWEST PRICES FOR ITEMS 21 THROUGH 24. BY LETTER DATED JULY 2, 1963, THIS CONTRACTOR ALLEGED THAT IT HAD MADE A GROSS ERROR IN ITS BID. THE CLAIM OF ERROR WAS SUPPORTED BY AN EXPLANATION HOW THE ERROR OCCURRED AND AN AFFIDAVIT BY ITS CORPORATE VICE PRESIDENT. ESSENTIALLY, THE ERROR RESULTED FROM A CLERICAL MISTAKE IN ENTERING BID PRICES FOR ITEMS 21 THROUGH 24 WHICH WERE INTENDED FOR A DIFFERENT TYPE OF CHEAPER TYPEWRITER RIBBON. THE CONTRACTOR ALSO FURNISHED A PRICE LIST WHICH SHOWS A PRICE DIFFERENTIAL OF ABOUT 30 PERCENT BETWEEN THE SELECTRIC RIBBONS REQUIRED BY THE INVITATION AND THE ELECTROMATIC RIBBONS UPON WHICH THE CONTRACTOR'S BID WAS BASED. A COST SUMMARY FURNISHED BY THE CONTRACTOR INDICATED THAT SELECTRIC RIBBONS COST $0.15 MORE TO PRODUCE THAN ELECTROMATIC.

AN EXAMINATION OF THE ABSTRACT OF BIDS SHOWS THAT, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF U.S. CARBON AND RIBBON, THERE IS A 25 TO 72 PERCENT DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PRICES BID ON IBM ELECTROMATIC RIBBONS AND THE PRICES BID ON RIBBONS FOR THE IBM SELECTRIC TYPEWRITER, WHEREAS, THE BIDS OF U.S. CARBON AND RIBBON SHOW ONLY A 4.4 PERCENT DIFFERENTIAL. ALSO, THE PREVIOUS CONTRACT PRICE RANGE FOR SELECTRIC RIBBON WAS HIGHER THAN THE PRICE QUOTED BY U.S. CARBON AND RIBBON. CONSIDERING THAT THE PROCUREMENT INVOLVED RESULTED IN A GENERAL INCREASE IN PROPOSED AWARD PRICES OF FROM 7 PERCENT TO 24 PERCENT, TOGETHER WITH THE OTHER FACTORS, WE THINK THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER SHOULD HAVE BEEN ON NOTICE OF A POSSIBLE MISTAKE IN THE CONTRACTOR'S BID.

IN VIEW OF ALL THE CIRCUMSTANCES, WE BELIEVE THAT IT WOULD BE INEQUITABLE TO REQUIRE THE CONTRACTOR TO FURNISH ITEMS 21 THROUGH 24 AT ITS BID PRICES. ACCORDINGLY, AND SINCE WE AGREE THAT THE CONTRACTOR MADE A BONA FIDE ERROR AS ALLEGED, THE CONTRACT SHOULD BE CANCELED, AS RECOMMENDED BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER.