B-158531, FEB. 28, 1966

B-158531: Feb 28, 1966

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VETERANS ADMINISTRATION: REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED FEBRUARY 15. SIX OTHER AGGREGATE BIDS WERE SUBMITTED ON THE SAME ITEMS WHICH RANGED FROM $1. THE CONTRACTOR ALLEGED THAT ITS AGGREGATE BID WAS INCORRECT BECAUSE OF AN ERROR COMMITTED WHEN COMPUTING THE UNIT BID ON ITEM NO. 8. THE GENERAL RULE IS WHEN A BIDDER HAS MADE A MISTAKE AND THE BID HAS BEEN ACCEPTED HE MUST BEAR THE CONSEQUENCES THEREOF. UNLESS THE MISTAKE WAS MUTUAL OR SO APPARENT THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER MUST HAVE KNOWN OF IT. THE QUESTION HERE IS NOT WHETHER BLICKMAN ERRED IN COMPUTING ITS BID. OR SHOULD HAVE KNOWN. THE BID ABSTRACT SHOWS THAT BLICKMAN'S LOW BID OF $946 WAS ONLY $114.80 LESS THAN THE SECOND LOW BID AND WAS NOT SUBSTANTIALLY OUT OF LINE WITH THE OTHER BIDS.

B-158531, FEB. 28, 1966

TO THE ADMINISTRATOR, VETERANS ADMINISTRATION:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED FEBRUARY 15, 1966, FROM MR. CLYDEC. COOK, DIRECTOR, SUPPLY MANAGEMENT SERVICE (YOUR REFERENCE 074B), REQUESTING OUR DECISION AS TO THE LEGALITY OF CANCELING THE AWARD OF ITEMS NOS. 7 AND 8 OF PURCHASE ORDER NO. 1117.

S. BLICKMAN, INC., IN RESPONSE TO INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. 66-18, OPENED ON NOVEMBER 2, 1965, OFFERED TO SUPPLY, IN PART, 24 LARGE FOOD TOTE BOXES (ITEM 7) AND 12 DOLLIES (ITEM 8), FOR A TOTAL PRICE OF $946. SIX OTHER AGGREGATE BIDS WERE SUBMITTED ON THE SAME ITEMS WHICH RANGED FROM $1,060.80 TO $1,203. AFTER AWARD, AND IN SUBSEQUENT CORRESPONDENCE, THE CONTRACTOR ALLEGED THAT ITS AGGREGATE BID WAS INCORRECT BECAUSE OF AN ERROR COMMITTED WHEN COMPUTING THE UNIT BID ON ITEM NO. 8, AND IT ASKED THAT THE AWARD ON THESE ITEMS BE RESCINDED.

THE GENERAL RULE IS WHEN A BIDDER HAS MADE A MISTAKE AND THE BID HAS BEEN ACCEPTED HE MUST BEAR THE CONSEQUENCES THEREOF, UNLESS THE MISTAKE WAS MUTUAL OR SO APPARENT THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER MUST HAVE KNOWN OF IT. SEE 23 COMP. GEN. 596. THE QUESTION HERE IS NOT WHETHER BLICKMAN ERRED IN COMPUTING ITS BID, BUT WHETHER THE CONTRACTING OFFICER KNEW, OR SHOULD HAVE KNOWN, OF THE ERROR.

THE BID ABSTRACT SHOWS THAT BLICKMAN'S LOW BID OF $946 WAS ONLY $114.80 LESS THAN THE SECOND LOW BID AND WAS NOT SUBSTANTIALLY OUT OF LINE WITH THE OTHER BIDS.

UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, IT CANNOT BE CONCLUDED THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER WAS ON NOTICE OF THE ALLEGED ERROR, AND SINCE NO OTHER EVIDENCE WAS SUBMITTED WHICH WOULD JUSTIFY BLICKMAN'S REQUEST FOR RELIEF A VALID AND BINDING CONTACT EXISTS WHICH MAY NOT BE RESCINDED. B-149574, AUGUST 24, 1962, AND B-148156, MARCH 22, 1962.

ACCORDINGLY, WE CONCUR IN THE CONCLUSION REACHED IN THE LETTER OF ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION ENCLOSED WITH THE LETTER OF FEBRUARY 15, 1966.