B-157281, AUG. 2, 1965

B-157281: Aug 2, 1965

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THE SECOND LOWEST BID WAS IN THE AMOUNT OF $3. PURCHASE ORDER NO. 52487 FOR THE FORMS WAS MAILED TO ALL BRAND ON JUNE 29. STATED THAT IT DID NOT EVEN HAVE THE EQUIPMENT NECESSARY TO PRODUCE THE FORMS. FOUND THAT ALL BRAND SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN INVITED TO BID ON THIS REQUIREMENT. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER IS REPORTED TO HAVE REEXAMINED THE BIDS AND REALIZED THAT BECAUSE OF THE PRESSURE OF THE WORK AT THE TIME OF AWARD. IT IS REPORTED THAT IF HE HAD MADE SUCH A COMPARISON. HE WOULD HAVE SUSPECTED THE POSSIBILITY OF ERROR. BECAUSE THE LOW BID WAS SO MUCH LOWER THAN THE OTHERS RECEIVED. WOULD HAVE ASKED ALL BRAND TO REVIEW THE SPECIFICATIONS AND CONFIRM ITS BID PRICE. WHILE THE NEXT THREE BIDS WERE AT THE RATES OF $25.00.

B-157281, AUG. 2, 1965

TO THE HONORABLE JAMES L. HARRISON, PUBLIC PRINTER, UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE:

IN YOUR LETTER OF JULY 20, 1965, YOU ASKED WHETHER ALL BRAND PRINTING CORPORATION MAY BE EXCUSED FROM PERFORMANCE OF A CONTRACT AWARDED TO IT FOR 125,010 SETS OF CERTAIN FORMS.

YOU REPORT THAT THE SEVEN BIDS RECEIVED FOR THIS PROCUREMENT RANGED IN PRICE FROM ALL BRAND'S LOW BID OF $2,092.67 TO A HIGH BID OF $5,000.40. THE SECOND LOWEST BID WAS IN THE AMOUNT OF $3,125.25.

PURCHASE ORDER NO. 52487 FOR THE FORMS WAS MAILED TO ALL BRAND ON JUNE 29, 1965. ON JULY 2, 1965, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER RECEIVED A TELEPHONE CALL FROM THE VICE PRESIDENT OF ALL BRAND. THE VICE PRESIDENT CLAIMED ERROR IN THAT HIS COMPANY HAD NOT INTENDED TO SUBMIT A BID FOR THE PROCUREMENT, AND STATED THAT IT DID NOT EVEN HAVE THE EQUIPMENT NECESSARY TO PRODUCE THE FORMS.

YOU REPORT THAT UPON RECEIPT OF THE CONTRACTOR'S APPEAL FOR RELIEF, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER REVIEWED THE COMPANY'S EQUIPMENT QUESTIONNAIRE, AND FOUND THAT ALL BRAND SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN INVITED TO BID ON THIS REQUIREMENT, BECAUSE IT HAD TOO SMALL A PRESS AND TOO FEW PERSONNEL TO POSSIBLY BE COMPETITIVE ON A JOB OF THIS SIZE AND QUANTITY. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER IS REPORTED TO HAVE REEXAMINED THE BIDS AND REALIZED THAT BECAUSE OF THE PRESSURE OF THE WORK AT THE TIME OF AWARD, HE HAD FAILED TO MAKE A FULL AND FAIR COMPARISON OF THE TWO LOW BIDS. IT IS REPORTED THAT IF HE HAD MADE SUCH A COMPARISON, HE WOULD HAVE SUSPECTED THE POSSIBILITY OF ERROR, BECAUSE THE LOW BID WAS SO MUCH LOWER THAN THE OTHERS RECEIVED, AND WOULD HAVE ASKED ALL BRAND TO REVIEW THE SPECIFICATIONS AND CONFIRM ITS BID PRICE.

CONSIDERING THE FACT THAT THE LOW BIDDER QUOTED $16.74 PER 1,000 FOR THE FORMS, WHILE THE NEXT THREE BIDS WERE AT THE RATES OF $25.00, $26.19, AND $27.90, RESPECTIVELY, WE AGREE THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER WAS ON CONSTRUCTIVE NOTICE OF THE PROBABILITY OF ERROR IN ALL BRAND'S BID. ACCEPTANCE OF THE BID CONTAINING AN ERROR WHICH SHOULD HAVE BEEN SUSPECTED BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER DOES NOT CONSUMMATE A VALID AND BINDING CONTRACT. SEE B-152753 DATED JUNE 3, 1964.

FOR THE FOREGOING REASONS, WE WILL NOT OBJECT TO THE PROPOSED CANCELLATION OF THE AWARD AND READVERTISING OF THE PROCUREMENT.