B-155215, JAN. 6, 1965

B-155215: Jan 6, 1965

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TO SCRANTON WIPING CLOTH COMPANY: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 18. THE ABOVE ITEM COVERS COTTON WIPING RAGS AND IS DIVIDED INTO TWO SCHEDULES. EACH SCHEDULE SHOWS A WEIGHT FACTOR OF "50" AND THE INVITATION CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING PROVISION: "BASIS OF AWARD: AWARD WILL BE MADE IN THE AGGREGATE FOR ITEM SHOWN HEREIN. THE LOW AGGREGATE BIDDER IS DETERMINED BY MULTIPLYING THE UNIT PRICES BY THE WEIGHT FACTORS. NO BID WILL BE CONSIDERED FOR AWARD FOR ONLY ONE SCHEDULE WITHIN THE ITEM.'. IT WAS REJECTED AS NONRESPONSIVE. IS CONSIDERED AS GOING TO THE SUBSTANCE. WE CONSISTENTLY HAVE HELD THAT BIDS SHOULD NOT BE EVALUATED ON A BASIS CONTRARY TO THAT STATED IN THE INVITATION. IF BIDS ARE TO BE EVALUATED ON SOME BASIS IN ADDITION TO PRICE.

B-155215, JAN. 6, 1965

TO SCRANTON WIPING CLOTH COMPANY:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 18, 1964, PROTESTING THE FAILURE OF THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION TO MAKE AN AWARD TO YOU UNDER ITEM 1 OF INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. GSA-NY-2HS-83686.

THE ABOVE ITEM COVERS COTTON WIPING RAGS AND IS DIVIDED INTO TWO SCHEDULES, SCHEDULE A BEING FOR ORDERS IN QUANTITIES OF 20,000 TO 40,000 POUNDS AND SCHEDULE B FOR QUANTITIES OVER 40,000 POUNDS. EACH SCHEDULE SHOWS A WEIGHT FACTOR OF "50" AND THE INVITATION CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING PROVISION:

"BASIS OF AWARD: AWARD WILL BE MADE IN THE AGGREGATE FOR ITEM SHOWN HEREIN. THE LOW AGGREGATE BIDDER IS DETERMINED BY MULTIPLYING THE UNIT PRICES BY THE WEIGHT FACTORS, AS APPLICABLE, AND ADDING THE RESULTANT EXTENSIONS. PRICES MUST BE QUOTED ON EACH SCHEDULE IN THE ITEM IN ORDER TO BE CONSIDERED FOR AWARD FOR SUCH ITEM. NO BID WILL BE CONSIDERED FOR AWARD FOR ONLY ONE SCHEDULE WITHIN THE ITEM.'

UNDER THE SCHEDULE A YOU SHOWED 30,000 POUNDS TWICE AND QUOTED A PRICE OF .1532 FOR ONE QUANTITY AND .161 FOR THE OTHER, AS WELL AS A PRICE OF .1640 UNDER SCHEDULE B FOR QUANTITIES OVER 40,000 POUNDS. SINCE THE CONTRACTING OFFICER CONSIDERED THAT YOUR QUOTATION OF TWO PRICES ON SCHEDULE A MADE IT IMPOSSIBLE TO EVALUATE YOUR BID, IT WAS REJECTED AS NONRESPONSIVE.

IN ORDER TO BE CONSIDERED FOR AWARD AS RESPONSIVE, A BID MUST MEET ALL ESSENTIAL REQUIREMENTS OF THE INVITATION. A VARIATION WHICH AFFECTS PRICE, QUANTITY, QUALITY, OR DELIVERY OF THE ITEMS OFFERED, IS CONSIDERED AS GOING TO THE SUBSTANCE, AS DISTINGUISHED FROM THE FORM OF THE BID, AND MUST BE REJECTED. 1 C.F.R. 2.404-2/A) AND (B) (5).

WE CONSISTENTLY HAVE HELD THAT BIDS SHOULD NOT BE EVALUATED ON A BASIS CONTRARY TO THAT STATED IN THE INVITATION. SEE 39 COMP. GEN. 282. AND IF BIDS ARE TO BE EVALUATED ON SOME BASIS IN ADDITION TO PRICE, THE METHOD OF EVALUATION MUST BE CLEARLY STATED IN THE INVITATION. 38 COMP. GEN. 550. IN THIS CASE THE INVITATION, AS QUOTED ABOVE, STATES VERY CLEARLY THE BASIS OF AWARD, WHICH INCLUDES A WEIGHT FACTOR IN ADDITION TO PRICE.

YOUR LETTER OF PROTEST GIVES A COMPARISON OF THE COST OF A SUPPOSED MONTHLY ORDER OF 250,000 POUNDS UNDER SCHEDULE A (PRESUMABLY 1/12 OF THE TOTAL ESTIMATED QUANTITY), INCLUDING 30,000 POUNDS AT YOUR LOW PRICE, AND THE REMAINDER AWARDED TO OTHER BIDDERS ORDER OF PRICES AND QUANTITIES OFFERED, AND YOU SHOW A SAVING OF $225.00 IF AWARD IS MADE TO YOU. (AFTER DEDUCTION OF DISCOUNTS THE SAVINGS WOULD BE ONLY $174.54.) SUCH A RESULT, HOWEVER, COULD BE REALIZED ONLY BY CONSIDERING YOUR BID AS FOR ONE HALF OF THE MONTHLY QUANTITY (60,000 POUNDS) OFFERED BY YOU AND IGNORING YOUR BID ON THE OTHER HALF, WHICH WOULD NOT BE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE METHOD OF EVALUATION STATED IN THE INVITATION. BY UNDERTAKING TO SPLIT THE QUANTITY OFFERED UNDER THE SINGLE SCHEDULE INTO TWO PARTS AND QUOTING DIFFERENT PRICES YOU MUST BE CONSIDERED TO HAVE AGREED TO HAVE THE STATED WEIGHT FACTOR APPLIED IN THE SAME WAY FOR EVALUATION PURPOSES. WHILE THIS AMOUNTS TO AVERAGING THE PRICE, WHICH YOU SAY YOU DID NOT INTEND, YOU OFFER NO ALTERNATIVE WHICH WOULD BE CONSISTENT WITH THE STATED METHOD OF EVALUATION. FURTHERMORE, YOUR COMPARISON COMPLETELY IGNORES THE FACT THAT YOUR BID PRICE ON SCHEDULE B OF ITEM 1 IS HIGHER THAN THAT OF ANY OTHER OF THE BIDDERS TO WHOM AWARDS WERE MADE, WHEREAS THE TERMS OF THE INVITATION REQUIRED THAT EQUAL WEIGHT BE GIVEN IN EVALUATION TO THE BID PRICES ON SCHEDULE B AND THOSE ON SCHEDULE A.

YOU STATE THAT THE GOVERNMENT DID NOT RESTRICT BIDDERS TO A SINGLE PRICE IN EACH SCHEDULE FOR A GIVEN QUANTITY. IT SEEMS CLEAR, HOWEVER, THAT THE ONLY REASONABLE INTERPRETATION WOULD REQUIRE THAT ONLY ONE PRICE BE QUOTED. IF TWO PRICES COULD BE QUOTED, THREE OR FOUR PRICES ALSO SHOULD BE PERMISSIBLE, WHICH WOULD RESULT IN COMPLETE CHAOS AND CONFUSION AS FAR AS AN ATTEMPT TO EVALUATE THE BIDS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE INVITATION IS CONCERNED.

FOR THE REASONS STATED, WE CONCLUDE THAT THE BASIS OF AWARD SET FORTH IN THE INVITATION WAS REASONABLE AND NOT AMBIGUOUS, AND THAT YOUR QUOTATION OF TWO PRICES UNDER SCHEDULE A OF ITEM 1 EITHER MADE IT IMPOSSIBLE TO EVALUATE YOUR BID ON THE REQUIRED BASIS, OR REQUIRED THE EVALUATION TO BE MADE BY APPLYING ONE-HALF OF THE WEIGHT FACTOR ASSIGNED TO SCHEDULE A TO EACH OF THE DIFFERENT PRICES QUOTED. UNDER THE FIRST VIEW, YOUR BID WAS NONRESPONSIVE, AND UNDER THE SECOND IT WAS HIGHER THAN OTHERS ON WHICH AWARDS WERE MADE, WHEN EVALUATED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE INVITATION. EITHER EVENT, YOUR PROTEST MUST BE DENIED.