B-157429, AUG. 19, 1965

B-157429: Aug 19, 1965

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

ARE ENTERED ON THE RESPECTIVE PAGES AS PAR PRICES BY THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE. BIDDERS ARE REQUIRED TO EITHER INCREASE OR DECREASE THESE PAR PRICES BY PERCENTAGES. ALL BIDS RECEIVED WILL BE ABSTRACTED AND TABULATED. 43 AND 45 BIDDERS WERE REQUIRED TO ENTER UNDER THE VARIOUS CATEGORIES OF FORMS EITHER A "MINUS PERCENTAGE. IT WAS NOTED THAT LEWIS FAILED TO ENTER IN ITS BID EITHER A MINUS OR PLUS SIGN WITH ITS PERCENTAGE BID FIGURES TO INDICATE WHETHER THE PAR PRICES WOULD BE INCREASED OR DECREASED BY THE PERCENTAGES BID. LEWIS ADVISED THE CONTRACTING OFFICER THAT IT WAS DEFINITELY ITS INTENT TO BID A MINUS PERCENTAGE IN EVERY BID CATEGORY. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER HAS RECOMMENDED CORRECTION OF THE BID ON THE BASIS THAT THE OMISSION WAS AN OBVIOUS CLERICAL ERROR.

B-157429, AUG. 19, 1965

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

BY LETTER DATED AUGUST 9, 1965, WITH ENCLOSURES, YOU REQUESTED OUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE BID OF LEWIS BUSINESS FORMS, INC., MAY BE CONSIDERED FOR AWARD UNDER A PAR BID PROPOSAL DATED JUNE 24, 1965, COVERING MARGINALLY PUNCHED CONTINUOUS FORMS FOR THE 12-MONTH PERIOD BEGINNING OCTOBER 1, 1965, AND ENDING SEPTEMBER 30, 1966.

UNDER THE PROPOSAL, PRICES FOR EACH AND EVERY SIZE FORM, AS WELL AS FOR THE NUMBER OF FORM PARTS, ARE ENTERED ON THE RESPECTIVE PAGES AS PAR PRICES BY THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE. BIDDERS ARE REQUIRED TO EITHER INCREASE OR DECREASE THESE PAR PRICES BY PERCENTAGES. PAGE 2 OF THE PROPOSAL, PROVIDES IN PART UNDER THE CAPTION "NOTICE TO BIDDERS:"

"ALL BIDS MUST BE SUBMITTED IN EXACT ACCORDANCE WITH THE SPECIFICATIONS. BIDS SHALL NOT BE SUBMITTED FOR ITEMS OTHER THAN THOSE LISTED. ANY OBLITERATIONS OR ALTERATIONS TO THE TERMS, SECTIONS, STIPULATIONS OR THE ORDER AND MANNER OF SUBMITTING QUOTATIONS AS PROVIDED IN THE PRICING SCHEDULE SHALL BE REASON FOR REJECTION OF BIDS.

"THE QUOTATION MAY BE THE BASIC PRICES MINUS A PERCENTAGE, OR THE BASIC PRICES WITHOUT CHANGE, OR THE BASIC PRICES PLUS A PERCENTAGE. ALL BIDS RECEIVED WILL BE ABSTRACTED AND TABULATED, WITH THE LOW BIDDER, THE NEXT LOW BIDDER, ETC., LISTED IN SEQUENCE.'

ON PAGES 21, 23, 25, 27, 29, 31, 33, 35, 37, 39, 41, 43 AND 45 BIDDERS WERE REQUIRED TO ENTER UNDER THE VARIOUS CATEGORIES OF FORMS EITHER A "MINUS PERCENTAGE," A "NO PERCENTAGE," A "PLUS PERCENTAGE," OR "NO BID.' HOWEVER, UPON THE OPENING OF BIDS ON JULY 26, 1965, IT WAS NOTED THAT LEWIS FAILED TO ENTER IN ITS BID EITHER A MINUS OR PLUS SIGN WITH ITS PERCENTAGE BID FIGURES TO INDICATE WHETHER THE PAR PRICES WOULD BE INCREASED OR DECREASED BY THE PERCENTAGES BID. UPON BEING ADVISED OF THE OMISSION OF PLUS OR MINUS SIGNS, LEWIS ADVISED THE CONTRACTING OFFICER THAT IT WAS DEFINITELY ITS INTENT TO BID A MINUS PERCENTAGE IN EVERY BID CATEGORY, EXCEPT AS TO THOSE CATEGORIES WHERE IT BID ZERO AND "NO BID.' THE CONTRACTING OFFICER HAS RECOMMENDED CORRECTION OF THE BID ON THE BASIS THAT THE OMISSION WAS AN OBVIOUS CLERICAL ERROR. THAT LEWIS INTENDED TO BID MINUS PERCENTAGES IS REPORTED TO BE BASED ON THE FACT THAT LEWIS BID MINUS PERCENTAGES ON A CURRENT CONTRACT; THAT IT IS NORMAL PRACTICE FOR ALL BIDDERS TO INCREASE PERCENTAGES PROGRESSIVELY AS QUANTITIES INCREASE, THEREBY INDICATING GREATER DISCOUNTS FOR GREATER QUANTITIES; AND THAT HAD LEWIS INTENDED TO INCREASE THE PAR PRICES BY PLUS PERCENTAGES, THE LARGER PERCENTAGES WOULD NORMALLY BE APPLIED TO THE SMALLER QUANTITIES AND THE LOWER PERCENTAGES APPLIED TO HIGHER QUANTITIES. IN THE LEWIS BID, ALL PERCENTAGES INCREASED PROGRESSIVELY FROM THE LOWER QUANTITIES TO THE HIGHEST QUANTITIES AND UNLESS THE PERCENTAGES WERE IN FACT INTENDED TO BE MINUS, LEWIS' PRICES WOULD BE SO EXCESSIVE THAT IT COULD NOT HAVE EXPECTED TO RECEIVE AN ORDER UNDER THE RESULTING CONTRACT.

UPON EXAMINATION OF LEWIS' BID, WE CONCLUDE THAT THE OMISSION OF THE MINUS SIGNS DID NOT AFFECT THE RESPONSIVENESS OF ITS BID SINCE THE BIDDER SUBMITTED PRICES BASED ON A PERCENTAGE OF THE PAR PRICES AND OTHERWISE COMPLIED WITH THE PROPOSAL REQUIREMENTS QUOTED ABOVE. THIS APPEARS TO BE A CASE WHERE THE BID AS SUBMITTED IS SUSCEPTIBLE OF NO OTHER INTERPRETATION THAN ON A MINUS PERCENTAGE BASIS. TO HOLD OTHERWISE WOULD CONVERT AN OBVIOUS CLERICAL ERROR TO ONE OF NONRESPONSIVENESS PATENTLY INCONSISTENT WITH THE REPORTED FACTS. GENERALLY, OBVIOUS ERRORS IN BID ARE FOR CORRECTION WHERE THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT THE ERROR WAS MADE AS ALLEGED. HERE, THE CONSISTENCY OF THE BIDDING PATTERN FOLLOWED BY LEWIS LOGICALLY ESTABLISHES BOTH THE EXISTENCE OF THE ERROR AND THE BID ACTUALLY INTENDED. CF. 38 COMP. GEN. 177; SEE 41 COMP. GEN. 160; ID. 192; ID. 469.

ACCORDINGLY, THE BID OF LEWIS MAY BE CORRECTED BY INCLUDING MINUS SIGNS AND, AS SUCH, MAY BE CONSIDERED FOR AWARD ALONG WITH THE OTHER RESPONSIVE BIDS RECEIVED. AS REQUESTED, THE LEWIS BID, THE COPY OF PROPOSAL, AND THE COPY OF SCHEDULE OF PRICES FOR THE CURRENT CONTRACT ARE RETURNED.