B-163251, FEB. 2, 1968

B-163251: Feb 2, 1968

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POSTMASTER GENERAL: REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED JANUARY 2. UNDER WHICH BIDS WERE REQUESTED ON ESTIMATED QUANTITIES OF PLATFORM HAND TRUCKS AS MIGHT BE REQUIRED AND ORDERED FOR DELIVERY TO POST OFFICES IN FIFTEEN REGIONS DURING THE PERIOD BEGINNING WITH THE DATE OF APPROVAL OF PREPRODUCTION SAMPLES THROUGH DECEMBER 31. SEVEN BIDS WERE RECEIVED AND OPENED. THE FIFTH LOWEST BID WAS SUBMITTED BY THE TAR HEEL ENGINEERING AND MANUFACTURING COMPANY. THAT IT WAS SUBMITTING A FORMAL PROTEST TO OUR OFFICE AGAINST ANY CONTRACT AWARD UNDER THE INVITATION. SETS FORTH THAT IT IS THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE BUREAU OF FACILITIES THAT THE TAR HEEL ENGINEERING AND MANUFACTURING COMPANY WAS EXPERIENCING DIFFICULTY IN PROJECTING TRANSPORTATION RATES FOR THE VARIOUS ZONES IN WHICH DELIVERIES MIGHT BE REQUIRED.

B-163251, FEB. 2, 1968

BIDS - AMBIGUOUS DECISION TO POSTMASTER GENERAL CONCERNING INVITATION FOR REQUIREMENTS TYPE CONTRACT FOR ESTIMATED QUANTITIES OF PLATFORM HAND TRUCKS FOR POST OFFICES IN 15 REGIONS AND PROTEST BY TAR HEEL ENGINEERING AND MANUFACTURING CO. WHERE FIFTH LOWEST BIDDER INDICATED THAT IT WOULD PROTEST ALLEGED AMBIGUITY IN REQUIREMENTS THAT WOULD EFFECT DELIVERED PRICES BUT AFTER FOLLOW UP ON PROTEST BIDDER DID NOT REPLY, AND INVITATION DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE AMBIGUOUS CONTRACT AWARD MAY BE MADE.

TO MR. POSTMASTER GENERAL:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED JANUARY 2, 1968, WITH ENCLOSURES, FROM THE DIRECTOR, PROCUREMENT DIVISION, BUREAU OF FACILITIES, RELATIVE TO INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. 1126, ISSUED NOVEMBER 27, 1967, UNDER WHICH BIDS WERE REQUESTED ON ESTIMATED QUANTITIES OF PLATFORM HAND TRUCKS AS MIGHT BE REQUIRED AND ORDERED FOR DELIVERY TO POST OFFICES IN FIFTEEN REGIONS DURING THE PERIOD BEGINNING WITH THE DATE OF APPROVAL OF PREPRODUCTION SAMPLES THROUGH DECEMBER 31, 1968.

SEVEN BIDS WERE RECEIVED AND OPENED, AS SCHEDULED, ON DECEMBER 18, 1967. THE FIFTH LOWEST BID WAS SUBMITTED BY THE TAR HEEL ENGINEERING AND MANUFACTURING COMPANY, SPRING HOPE, NORTH CAROLINA, AND THAT COMPANY HAD PREVIOUSLY ADVISED THE CONTRACTING OFFICER BY TELEGRAM DATED DECEMBER 15, 1967, THAT IT WAS SUBMITTING A FORMAL PROTEST TO OUR OFFICE AGAINST ANY CONTRACT AWARD UNDER THE INVITATION. THE COMPANY INDICATED THAT THE PROTEST HAD BEEN OR WOULD BE BASED ON AN ALLEGED AMBIGUITY IN THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE INVITATION WHICH DIRECTLY AFFECTED THE DELIVERED PRICES OF THE EQUIPMENT INVOLVED.

THE LETTER OF JANUARY 2, 1968, SETS FORTH THAT IT IS THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE BUREAU OF FACILITIES THAT THE TAR HEEL ENGINEERING AND MANUFACTURING COMPANY WAS EXPERIENCING DIFFICULTY IN PROJECTING TRANSPORTATION RATES FOR THE VARIOUS ZONES IN WHICH DELIVERIES MIGHT BE REQUIRED. HOWEVER, REFERENCE WAS MADE TO THE FACT THAT THE COMPANY SUBMITTED A BID ON ALL 15 ITEMS OF THE INVITATION AND THE OPINION WAS EXPRESSED THAT THE INVITATION FOR AN INDEFINITE QUANTITY-TERM CONTRACT IS IN ACCORD WITH THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 1 3.409 (C), FEDERAL PROCUREMENT REGULATIONS.

NO FORMAL PROTEST IN THE MATTER WAS RECEIVED BY OUR OFFICE. WE THEREFORE REQUESTED THE TAR HEEL ENGINEERING AND MANUFACTURING COMPANY, BY LETTER DATED JANUARY 11, 1968, TO SUBMIT SUCH PROTEST WITHIN 10 DAYS IF IT WAS STILL ITS POSITION THAT NO CONTRACT AWARD SHOULD BE MADE PURSUANT TO THE INVITATION. WE HAVE NOT RECEIVED A REPLY TO THAT LETTER AND, SINCE THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE INVITATION DO NOT APPEAR TO BE AMBIGUOUS IN ANY RESPECT, IT IS OUR OPINION THAT A CONTRACT AWARD PROPERLY MAY BE MADE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE INVITATION.