B-159726, AUG. 22, 1966

B-159726: Aug 22, 1966

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 20. REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER THERE IS A LEGAL BASIS IN THE DESCRIBED CIRCUMSTANCES FOR THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE (GPO) TO RECOVER AN AMOUNT OF $25. THE INVITATION TO BID WAS DATED JULY 28. WAS LOW BIDDER AND ON AUGUST 11. A COPY OF THE SPECIFICATIONS AND MANUSCRIPT COPY WERE FURNISHED TO THE CONTRACTOR. THE FORMS WERE SHIPPED TO VARIOUS NAVY DEPARTMENT INSTALLATIONS ON SEPTEMBER 3 AND THE GPO PAID DUPLEX ON SEPTEMBER 23. NAVY REPRESENTATIVES DELIVERED A MEMORANDUM OF THE SAME DATE TO GPO ADVISING THAT THE FORMS WERE BEING REJECTED BECAUSE THE CARBONS COULD NOT BE SATISFACTORILY EXTRACTED IN A MANUAL OPERATION.

B-159726, AUG. 22, 1966

TO PUBLIC PRINTER, U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 20, 1966, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER THERE IS A LEGAL BASIS IN THE DESCRIBED CIRCUMSTANCES FOR THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE (GPO) TO RECOVER AN AMOUNT OF $25,816.30, REPRESENTING PAYMENT TO THE CONTRACTOR AND TRANSPORTATION COSTS INCURRED IN FILLING A REQUISITION FROM THE OFFICE OF NAVY COMPTROLLER FOR 840,000 SETS OF CONTINUOUS MARGINALLY PUNCHED VOUCHER FORMS WITH INTERLEAVED CARBONS.

THE INVITATION TO BID WAS DATED JULY 28, 1965. DUPLEX PRODUCTS, INCORPORATED, WASHINGTON, .C., WAS LOW BIDDER AND ON AUGUST 11, 1965, PURCHASE ORDER 43356 (JACKET 781-735), A COPY OF THE SPECIFICATIONS AND MANUSCRIPT COPY WERE FURNISHED TO THE CONTRACTOR. THE FORMS WERE SHIPPED TO VARIOUS NAVY DEPARTMENT INSTALLATIONS ON SEPTEMBER 3 AND THE GPO PAID DUPLEX ON SEPTEMBER 23, 1965. ON SEPTEMBER 21, 1965, NAVY REPRESENTATIVES DELIVERED A MEMORANDUM OF THE SAME DATE TO GPO ADVISING THAT THE FORMS WERE BEING REJECTED BECAUSE THE CARBONS COULD NOT BE SATISFACTORILY EXTRACTED IN A MANUAL OPERATION. DUPLEX WAS ADVISED BY LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 29, 1965, THAT REPLACEMENT OF THE ORDER WAS REQUIRED AT NO COST TO THE GOVERNMENT. DUPLEX, BY LETTER DATED OCTOBER 21, 1965, REFUSED TO REPLACE ON THE GROUNDS THAT---

1. THE ORDER WAS FILLED IN STRICT COMPLIANCE WITH THE SPECIFICATIONS;

2. THE SPECIFICATIONS WERE GEARED TO MECHANIZED AFTER HANDLING; AND

3. NO INDICATION WAS GIVEN THAT MANUAL EXTRACTION OF CARBONS WAS CONTEMPLATED.

YOU REPORT THAT DUPLEX IS A VERY LARGE SUPPLIER OF FORMS AND HAS SATISFACTORILY FILLED GPO ORDERS FOR USE BOTH IN MANUAL AND MECHANICAL SYSTEMS.

THE ORIGINAL SPECIFICATIONS WHICH ACCOMPANIED THE INVITATION FOR BIDS PROVIDED, IN RELEVANT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"JOINING--- FORMS ARE TO BE JOINED (X) IN THE LEFT MARGIN ( ( AT THE PERFORATION BETWEEN ------------------- SET-S' BY ( ( GLUING ( ( SEWING ( ( PASTING ( ( WIRE-STITCHING (STAPLING) ( ( ANY OTHER METHOD AT CONTRACTOR'S OPTION. (X) (OTHER) BY ANY TEMPORARY METHOD OF FASTENING SUITABLE FOR USE ON IBM 632 TABULATOR, HONEYWELL 223-24 IBM 1403 MODELS I AND II HIGH SPEED PRINTERS. THE CONTRACTOR GUARANTEES THAT THE METHOD OF JOINING THE SUPPLIES IS SATISFACTORY AND HAS BEEN SO FOR SUCH PERIOD OF TIME AS TO DEMONSTRATE ITS PRACTICABILITY.

"CARBON EXTRACTOR--- (X) YES ( ( CORNER TAB ( ( CENTER TAB. (X) SHORT RIGHT/SIDE ( ( CONTRACTOR'S OPTION. THE CONTRACTOR GUARANTEES THAT THE METHOD OF EXTRACTING CARBONS WHICH HE SUPPLIES WILL CONFORM TO THE REQUIREMENTS OF THIS SPECIFICATION; THAT IT IS A FEATURE REGULARLY SUPPLIED BY HIM AS SATISFACTORY AND HAS BEEN SO FOR SUCH PERIOD OF TIME AS TO DEMONSTRATE ITS PRACTICABILITY.

"PERFORATION--- (X) MARGINAL * FROM (X) RIGHT SIDE AND (X) LEFT SIDE MARGINAL PERFORATIONS AS SPECIFIED SHALL BE PROVIDED FOR THE PURPOSE OF REMOVING MARGINALLY PUNCHED STRIPS FROM THE FORMS. PART AND CARBONS ON LEFT * 5/8 INCH FROM LEFT SIDE AND 1/2 INCH FROM RIGHT SIDE.

"ADDITIONAL INSTRUCTIONS--- SEE OVERPRINT INFORMATION ON PAGE 2, SEE SAMPLE FOR POSITION OF OVERPRINT.'

IT IS THE POSITION OF GPO THAT WHERE MECHANIZED CARBON EXTRACTION IS A REQUIREMENT, IT IS UNNECESSARY TO PROVIDE A CARBON EXTRACTION FEATURE SINCE THE MACHINES ACCOMPLISH THIS OPERATION AUTOMATICALLY. CONSEQUENTLY, IT IS STATED, THE CARBON EXTRACTION BOX ON THE SPECIFICATION FORM IS COMPLETED ONLY WHEN MANUAL EXTRACTION IS REQUIRED, AND THAT NOT ONLY WAS A CARBON EXTRACTION FEATURE SPECIFIED IN THIS INSTANCE BUT THE SPECIFICATIONS CALLED FOR INTERLEAVING CARBONS TO EXTEND TO THE EDGE ON THE LEFT AND TO BE CUT SHORT ON THE RIGHT SIDE. IT IS FURTHER STATED THAT THE ONLY PURPOSE WHICH THIS REQUIREMENT COULD SERVE IS TO PERMIT MANUAL CARBON EXTRACTION, WITH THE CARBONS AND STUBS REMAINING INTACT ON THE LEFT SIDE.

IT IS THE USING AGENCY'S VIEW THAT THE PERFORATIONS ARE PLACED ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE FORMS AND ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE CARBONS IN SUCH A WAY THAT CARBONS CAN BE EXTRACTED ONLY BY SEPARATING EACH SHEET OF THE FORM FROM EACH SHEET OF THE CARBON. IT IS POINTED OUT IN YOUR LETTER, HOWEVER, THAT THE FORMS SUPPLIED BY UARCO, INC., ON PURCHASE ORDER 45788, DATED OCTOBER 4, 1965, TO REPLACE THE REJECTED ORDER, ARE PERFORATED IN THE SAME POSITION BUT WITH A STRONGER PERFORATION ON THE RIGHT THAN ON THE LEFT. IT IS THE GPO'S VIEW THAT THE POSITIONING OF THE PERFORATION IS NOT THE CAUSE OF THE DEFECT BUT RATHER THAT IT IS OCCASIONED BY THE USE OF A UNIFORM STRENGTH PERFORATION ON THE TWO SIDES OF THE PARTS (FORMS), BOTH WEAK, AND ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE CARBON. IT IS CONTENDED IN YOUR LETTER THAT THE CONTRACTOR WAS REQUIRED TO DELIVER A PRODUCT WITH A SATISFACTORY CARBON EXTRACTION FEATURE AND NECESSITATED THAT THE RIGHT PERFORATIONS BE SUFFICIENTLY STRONG TO HOLD WHEN SETS ARE MANUALLY SNAPPED APART, WITH THE LEFT PERFORATION OF THE PAPER BEING WEAKER THAN ON THE RIGHT, BUT DEEP ENOUGH FOR EASY SEPARATION FROM THE LEFT STUB.

IT IS SHOWN THAT THE SPECIFICATION FOR THE REPLACEMENT (JACKET 788 475, ORDER 45788) WAS CHANGED AND STRENGTHENED TO THE EXTENT THAT THE PERFORATION OF THE CARBONS ON THE LEFT WAS MITTED; THE JOINING WAS CHANGED TO "ANY PERMANENT FLEXIBLE TYPE OF GLUING" AND THE FOLLOWING WAS INSERTED IN THE "ADDITIONAL INSTRUCTIONS" ON THE NEW SPECIFICATIONS:

"NOTE: PERFORATIONS ON THE RIGHT MUST BE STRONG ENOUGH TO HOLD WHEN SETS ARE MANUALLY SNAPPED APART. LEFT PERFORATIONS MUST BE WEAKER THAN RIGHT BUT DEEP ENOUGH FOR EASY SEPARATION FROM LEFT STUB.' THIS IS STATED TO HAVE BEEN ADDED AS A PRECAUTION TO AVOID ANY POSSIBILITY OF ANOTHER DELIVERY OF AN UNSATISFACTORY FORM SET.

IT IS CONCEDED BY ALL PARTIES, CONTRACTOR, REQUISITIONING AND USING AGENCIES, THAT THE FORMS SUPPLIED ARE SUITABLE FOR USE IN A MECHANIZED SYSTEM OF PRINTING AND AFTER HANDLING, INCLUDING MECHANIZED CARBON EXTRACTION, AND THAT MANUAL CARBON EXTRACTION THEREFROM IS NOT FEASIBLE. IT APPEARS FROM AN EXAMINATION OF THE ORIGINAL SPECIFICATIONS THAT THE CONTRACTOR HAS COMPLIED WITH THE STATED TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS AS TO JOINING, INTERLEAVING CARBONS, CARBON EXTRACTION AND PERFORATION. ON THE PRESENT RECORD WE ARE UNABLE TO CONCLUDE FROM THE FACT THAT CARBON EXTRACTION ONLY WAS SHOWN TO BE DESIRED, THAT THIS RESULTED IN A SPECIFIC REQUIREMENT FOR MANUAL CARBON EXTRACTION. INTERPRETING THE SPECIFICATIONS BY REFERENCE TO ALL ITS TERMS, AS WE ARE REQUIRED TO DO, WE ARE OF THE VIEW THAT THE CONTRACTOR SUPPLIED WHAT WAS REQUESTED BY THE SPECIFICATIONS, THAT MANUAL CARBON EXTRACTION WAS NEITHER EXPRESSLY REQUESTED, NOR WAS IT NECESSARILY INDICATED BY THE FORM OF THE SPECIFICATION, REQUIRED BY CUSTOM AND USAGE OF THE TRADE, OR BY REASON OF THE COURSE OF PREVIOUS DEALINGS WITH THE CONTRACTOR. THE FACT THAT THE RELETTING OF THE ORDER WAS ACCOMPLISHED BY NEW SPECIFICATIONS WITH SUBSTANTIAL AND MATERIAL CHANGES IN RESPECT TO THE JOINING, INTERLEAVING CARBONS, PERFORATION AND ADDITIONAL INSTRUCTIONS SECTIONS WOULD APPEAR TO DEMONSTRATE THE INADEQUACY OF THE ORIGINAL SPECIFICATIONS FOR THE PURPOSE INTENDED TO BE ACCOMPLISHED. IN THAT CONNECTION, IT APPEARS THAT, WHILE SATISFACTORY SUPPLIES WERE OBTAINED FROM THE REPLACING CONTRACTOR WITHOUT CHANGING THE CARBON EXTRACTION PROVISION OF THE SPECIFICATIONS, SUBSTANTIAL AND MATERIAL CHANGES WERE MADE IN REORDERING WITH PERMANENT FLEXIBLE JOINING, PERFORATION OF PARTS ONLY AND NOT CARBONS, AND SPECIFIC ADDITIONAL INSTRUCTIONS AS TO THE STRENGTH OF PERFORATIONS FOR MANUALLY SNAPPING SETS APART, PROVISIONS WHICH WERE LACKING IN THE ORIGINAL SPECIFICATIONS, AND, THAT THESE CHANGES WERE THE FACTORS WHICH MADE MANUAL CARBON REMOVAL POSSIBLE IN THE REPLACING SUPPLIES.

FOR THESE REASONS, WE THINK THAT THE ORIGINAL SPECIFICATIONS DID NOT CLEARLY REQUIRE A MANUAL CARBON EXTRACTION FEATURE TO BE INCORPORATED INTO THE MANUFACTURE OF THE FORM SETS OR AT BEST WERE SO AMBIGUOUS AS TO REQUIRE THE AMBIGUITY TO BE RESOLVED AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT. WE THEREFORE CONCLUDE THAT THE INTERPRETATION PLACED UPON THEM BY THE CONTRACTOR WAS NOT UNREASONABLE, AND THAT THERE IS NO LEGAL BASIS FOR RECOVERY FROM THE CONTRACTOR OF THE AMOUNT PAID UNDER THE PURCHASE ORDER.