B-154411, JUN. 24, 1964

B-154411: Jun 24, 1964

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VETERANS ADMINISTRATION: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED JUNE 9. WAS ISSUED TO PROPPER MANUFACTURING COMPANY. THE ONLY OTHER BID RECEIVED ON THESE ITEMS WAS SUBMITTED BY BARD- PARKER COMPANY AND WAS IN THE AMOUNT OF $14. IT IS STATED THAT BY LETTER TO THE CONTRACTING OFFICER DATED MAY 20. AN ERROR IN THE BID WAS ALLEGED BY PROPPER MANUFACTURING COMPANY. THE REASON FOR THE ERROR WAS ATTRIBUTED TO VETERANS ADMINISTRATION DESCRIPTION X- 656A. PROPPER ALLEGES THAT IN PREPARING ITS BID IT WAS INADVERTENTLY ASSUMED THAT ITEMS 1 THROUGH 7 WERE STYLE B. THAT HE WAS NOT ON CONSTRUCTIVE NOTICE OF A MISTAKE BEFORE AWARD SINCE THE BID WAS FOR A FOREIGN MADE ITEM. WHEREAS THE OTHER BID WAS FOR A DOMESTIC MADE ITEM.

B-154411, JUN. 24, 1964

TO ADMINISTRATOR OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, VETERANS ADMINISTRATION:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED JUNE 9, 1964, WITH ENCLOSURES, REFERENCE 074B, FROM THE DIRECTOR, SUPPLY MANAGEMENT SERVICE, RELATIVE TO THE ALLEGATION OF PROPPER MANUFACTURING COMPANY, INCORPORATED, THAT IT MADE A MISTAKE IN ITS BID TO SUPPLY SURGICAL KNIFE BLADES.

IT APPEARS THAT PURCHASE ORDER 65-HI-10021 DATED MAY 15, 1964, WAS ISSUED TO PROPPER MANUFACTURING COMPANY, INCORPORATED, IN THE AMOUNT OF $11,139.84 TO COVER AWARD MADE FOR ITEMS 1 THROUGH 7, SURGICAL KNIFE BLADES, ON BID INVITATION NO. M1-4-65 OPENED AS SCHEDULED ON MAY 12, 1964. THE ONLY OTHER BID RECEIVED ON THESE ITEMS WAS SUBMITTED BY BARD- PARKER COMPANY AND WAS IN THE AMOUNT OF $14,423.04. IT IS STATED THAT BY LETTER TO THE CONTRACTING OFFICER DATED MAY 20, 1964, AN ERROR IN THE BID WAS ALLEGED BY PROPPER MANUFACTURING COMPANY, INCORPORATED. THE REASON FOR THE ERROR WAS ATTRIBUTED TO VETERANS ADMINISTRATION DESCRIPTION X- 656A, DATED FEBRUARY 20, 1963, WHICH MAKES REFERENCE TO TWO STYLES OF BLADE, STYLE A WITH REINFORCED BACK AND STYLE B WITH PLAIN BACK, AND PROPPER ALLEGES THAT IN PREPARING ITS BID IT WAS INADVERTENTLY ASSUMED THAT ITEMS 1 THROUGH 7 WERE STYLE B, PLAIN BACK BLADE.

IT APPEARS TO BE THE OPINION OF THE CHIEF, MARKETING DIVISION, THAT HE WAS NOT ON CONSTRUCTIVE NOTICE OF A MISTAKE BEFORE AWARD SINCE THE BID WAS FOR A FOREIGN MADE ITEM, WHEREAS THE OTHER BID WAS FOR A DOMESTIC MADE ITEM, AND HE SUGGESTS THAT THE REQUEST FOR RELIEF FROM THE CONTRACT COULD BE DENIED ON THAT BASIS. HOWEVER, MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES ARE SUGGESTED IN THAT BARD-PARKER COMPANY IS APPARENTLY THE ONLY MANUFACTURER (DOMESTIC OR FOREIGN) OF THE REINFORCED BACK BLADE AND THAT THESE BLADES HAVE PREVIOUSLY BEEN FURNISHED SOLELY BY THE BARD-PARKER COMPANY UNDER ITS TRADE NAME OF "RIB-BACK.' THERE WAS A SUBSTANTIAL DIFFERENCE IN UNIT PRICES OF THE TWO BIDS--- BARD-PARKER COMPANY OFFERED THE DESIRED BLADES AT $12.52 PER UNIT WHEREAS PROPPER MANUFACTURING COMPANY'S BID WAS $9.67 PER UNIT.

IT APPEARS FROM ALL THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES THAT THERE WAS PRESENT AN INDICATION OF POSSIBLE MISUNDERSTANDING WHICH WELL MIGHT HAVE CAUSED THE CONTRACTING OFFICER TO SUSPECT AN ERROR AND IT COULD BE ARGUED THAT HE SHOULD HAVE REQUESTED VERIFICATION OF THE BID PRIOR TO AWARD. ACCORDINGLY, THE CONTRACT MAY BE CANCELLED WITHOUT LIABILITY TO THE CONTRACTOR. THE ENCLOSURES WITH THE LETTER OF JUNE 9, 1964, ARE RETURNED AS REQUESTED.