B-159602, JUL. 21, 1966

B-159602: Jul 21, 1966

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INC.: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 30. THE INVITATION FOR BIDS PROVIDED THAT BIDS PROPOSING PRICES IN EXCESS OF FOUR SPECIFIED RATES AT WHICH SINGLE COPIES OF TRANSCRIPTS ARE TO BE SOLD TO THE PUBLIC "WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED.'. YOU EXPLAINED THAT THE MAXIMUM RATES WERE EXCEEDED IN ERROR WHEN THE TYPIST WHO WAS INSTRUCTED TO USE THE MAXIMUM FIGURES INCLUDED IN THE INVITATION BECAME CONFUSED AND ENTERED IN THE BID FIGURES FROM ANOTHER BID. OUR OFFICE HELD THAT A BID FOR STENOGRAPHIC REPORTING SERVICES WHICH VIOLATED THE PROVISIONS OF THE INVITATION WITH RESPECT TO THE PRICES TO BE CHARGED FOR COPIES OF TRANSCRIPTS WAS NONRESPONSIVE IN A MATERIAL RESPECT AND COULD NOT BE CORRECTED.

B-159602, JUL. 21, 1966

TO WARD AND PAUL, INC.:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 30, 1966, PROTESTING THE REJECTION OF YOUR BID FOR STENOGRAPHIC REPORTING SERVICES TO BE PERFORMED FOR THE UNITED STATES CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION FOR THE PERIOD BEGINNING JULY 1, 1966, AND ENDING JUNE 30, 1967.

THE INVITATION FOR BIDS PROVIDED THAT BIDS PROPOSING PRICES IN EXCESS OF FOUR SPECIFIED RATES AT WHICH SINGLE COPIES OF TRANSCRIPTS ARE TO BE SOLD TO THE PUBLIC "WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED.' HOWEVER, YOUR BID EXCEEDED THESE MAXIMUM RATES FOR ITEMS 3 AND 6 BY $0.20 AND $0.10, RESPECTIVELY. AFTER THE OPENING OF BIDS, YOU EXPLAINED THAT THE MAXIMUM RATES WERE EXCEEDED IN ERROR WHEN THE TYPIST WHO WAS INSTRUCTED TO USE THE MAXIMUM FIGURES INCLUDED IN THE INVITATION BECAME CONFUSED AND ENTERED IN THE BID FIGURES FROM ANOTHER BID. IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES, YOU REQUESTED YOUR BID TO BE CORRECTED. UPON CONSIDERATION OF THE MATTER, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER REJECTED YOUR BID AS NONRESPONSIVE.

IN A SIMILAR CASE, B-149141, JUNE 22, 1962, OUR OFFICE HELD THAT A BID FOR STENOGRAPHIC REPORTING SERVICES WHICH VIOLATED THE PROVISIONS OF THE INVITATION WITH RESPECT TO THE PRICES TO BE CHARGED FOR COPIES OF TRANSCRIPTS WAS NONRESPONSIVE IN A MATERIAL RESPECT AND COULD NOT BE CORRECTED.

IN REGARD TO YOUR ALLEGATION OF ERROR IN EXCEEDING THE MAXIMUM PRICES, IT WAS STATED IN OUR DECISION OF JUNE 5, 1959, B-139329, 38 COMP. GEN. 819, AS FOLLOWS:

"THE QUESTION THEN ARISES AS TO WHETHER A BID WHICH IS NOT RESPONSIVE TO THE INVITATION MAY BE CORRECTED ON THE BASIS OF AN ALLEGATION THAT THE REASON FOR THE BID BEING NONRESPONSIVE WAS AN OVERSIGHT OR A MISTAKE. OUR DECISION OF JANUARY 30, 1958, B 134931, WHICH INVOLVED A SITUATION WHERE A BIDDER HAD INADVERTENTLY SUBMITTED THE WRONG SAMPLE WITH ITS BID AND ATTEMPTED TO SUBMIT A NEW SAMPLE AFTER THE BID OPENING, IT WAS STATED:

"THE QUESTION AS TO WHETHER A BID IS RESPONSIVE TO THE INVITATION IS FOR DETERMINATION UPON THE BASIS OF THE BID IS SUBMITTED AND IT IS NOT BELIEVED THAT IT WOULD BE PROPER TO CONSIDER THE REASON FOR THE UNRESPONSIVENESS, WHETHER DUE TO MISTAKE OR OTHERWISE.'

"IT IS PROBABLE THAT THE MAJORITY OF UNRESPONSIVE BIDS ARE DUE TO OVERSIGHT OR ERROR, SUCH AS THE FAILURE TO QUOTE A PRICE, TO SIGN THE BID, TO FURNISH A BID BOND, TO SUBMIT REQUIRED SAMPLES OR DATA, OR THE SUBMISSION OF THE WRONG SAMPLE, INCOMPLETE DATA, OR STATEMENTS THE ACTUAL MEANING OF WHICH WAS NOT INTENDED, ETC. AN UNRESPONSIVE BID DOES NOT CONSTITUTE AN OFFER WHICH MAY PROPERLY BE ACCEPTED, AND TO PERMIT A BIDDER TO MAKE HIS BID RESPONSIVE BY CHANGING, ADDING TO, OR DELETING A MATERIAL PART OF THE BID ON THE BASIS OF AN ERROR ALLEGED AFTER THE OPENING WOULD BE TANTAMOUNT TO PERMITTING A BIDDER TO SUBMIT A NEW BID. IT IS OUR OPINION THAT AN ALLEGATION OF ERROR IS PROPER FOR CONSIDERATION ONLY IN CASES WHERE THE BID IS RESPONSIVE TO THE INVITATION AND IS OTHERWISE PROPER FOR ACCEPTANCE.'

THE REJECTION OF YOUR BID IN THE IMMEDIATE CASE APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN PROPER AND IN LINE WITH PREVIOUS PRECEDENT OF OUR OFFICE. YOUR PROTEST IS ACCORDINGLY DENIED.