B-165703, JAN. 8, 1969

B-165703: Jan 8, 1969

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HARRISON: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED NOVEMBER 13. TO HAVE BEEN MADE IN ITS BID UPON WHICH AN AWARD WAS MADE BY THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE. THE INVITATION FOR BIDS WAS MAILED TO 15 FIRMS ON JUNE 21. BIDS WERE OPENED ON JULY 2. WAS DETERMINED TO BE THE LOW RESPONSIVE BIDDER WITH A BID OF $480. PURCHASE ORDER NO. 42899 WAS ISSUED TO PUBLICATION PRESS. THE RECORD BEFORE US INDICATES THAT AT THE TIME THE BIDS WERE OPENED THE CONTRACTING OFFICER REVIEWED THE SPECIFICATIONS. WE ARE ADVISED THAT THIS DETERMINATION WAS BASED ON AN INFORMAL ESTIMATE OF APPROXIMATELY $550. SUBSEQUENT TO AWARD THE CONTRACTING OFFICER RECEIVED A TELEPHONE CALL FROM THE CONTRACTOR ADVISING OF AN ERROR IN BID IN THAT THE COSTS OF LINE AND HALFTONE FILM NEGATIVES AND THE MAKING OF COMPOSITES WERE OMITTED FROM THE BID PRICE.

B-165703, JAN. 8, 1969

TO MR. HARRISON:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED NOVEMBER 13, 1968, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE ACTION TO BE TAKEN CONCERNING AN ERROR ALLEGED BY THE PUBLICATION PRESS, INC., TO HAVE BEEN MADE IN ITS BID UPON WHICH AN AWARD WAS MADE BY THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE.

THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE ADVERTISED FOR BIDS FOR THE MANUFACTURE OF 4,427 COPIES OF A PAMPHLET ENTITLED "UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE: STATE LAWS AND EXPERIENCE.' THE INVITATION FOR BIDS WAS MAILED TO 15 FIRMS ON JUNE 21, 1968. BIDS WERE OPENED ON JULY 2, 1968, AND OF THE SIX BIDS RECEIVED PUBLICATION PRESS, INC., WAS DETERMINED TO BE THE LOW RESPONSIVE BIDDER WITH A BID OF $480. ACCORDINGLY, PURCHASE ORDER NO. 42899 WAS ISSUED TO PUBLICATION PRESS, INC., ON JULY 3, 1968.

THE RECORD BEFORE US INDICATES THAT AT THE TIME THE BIDS WERE OPENED THE CONTRACTING OFFICER REVIEWED THE SPECIFICATIONS, EXAMINED AND EVALUATED THE BIDS AND CONSIDERED THE CONTRACTOR'S BID TO BE FAIR AND REASONABLE. WE ARE ADVISED THAT THIS DETERMINATION WAS BASED ON AN INFORMAL ESTIMATE OF APPROXIMATELY $550.

SUBSEQUENT TO AWARD THE CONTRACTING OFFICER RECEIVED A TELEPHONE CALL FROM THE CONTRACTOR ADVISING OF AN ERROR IN BID IN THAT THE COSTS OF LINE AND HALFTONE FILM NEGATIVES AND THE MAKING OF COMPOSITES WERE OMITTED FROM THE BID PRICE. THE CONTRACTOR AGREED TO PROCEED WITH PRODUCTION SINCE THE COPY AND PURCHASE ORDER HAD BEEN SUPPLIED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE SCHEDULE AND SPECIFICATIONS. THE CONTRACTOR STATED THAT THE CLAIM WOULD BE DOCUMENTED AND AN APPEAL WOULD BE DOCUMENTED AND AN APPEAL WOULD BE MADE AT A LATER DATE.

BY LETTER DATED JULY 23, 1968, THE CONTRACTOR CONFIRMED ITS CLAIM OF ERROR AND STATED THAT "WE INADVERTENTLY OMITTED THE COST OF LINE ILLUSTRATIONS AND HALFTONE TINTS FROM OUR COMPUTATION.' THE VALUE OF THE ITEMS OMITTED AMOUNTS TO $200. IN FURTHER SUPPORT OF ITS POSITION, THE CONTRACTOR, BY LETTER DATED OCTOBER 17, 1968, STATED THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS ON THE INVITATION FOR BIDS DID NOT INCLUDE THE REQUIREMENT FOR MAKING REVERSES AND STRIPPING SCREEN TINTS. AN EXAMINATION OF THE SPECIFICATIONS SHOWS THAT THERE WAS NO STATED REQUIREMENT FOR MAKING REVERSES AND STRIPPING SCREEN TINTS.

THE CONTRACTING OFFICER BELIEVES THAT IT MUST BE ASSUMED, AFTER EXAMINING THE COPIES OF THE ESTIMATE SHEETS WHICH WERE FURNISHED TO CONFIRM THE CLAIM, THAT A PRICE FOR NEGATIVES IS INCLUDED UNDER AN ITEM LISTED AS "NEGATIVES AND IMPOSITION" IN THE BASIC ESTIMATE. HOWEVER, THE CHARGE FOR HALFTONE NEGATIVES AND THE MAKING OF COMPOSITION AND LINE NEGATIVES WAS COMPUTED AS A SEPARATE ESTIMATE. INCLUDED IN THIS SEPARATE ESTIMATE WAS A DEDUCTION IN THE AMOUNT OF $40 FOR THE NEGATIVES IN THE BASIC ESTIMATE RESULTING IN A TOTAL OF $263.40. A FURTHER REDUCTION IN THE FORM OF A $63.40 DISCOUNT AMOUNTS TO $200. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER BELIEVES, THEREFORE, THAT THE CONTRACTOR MADE A BONA FIDE ERROR AND, ON THE BASIS OF THE EVIDENCE SUBMITTED, RECOMMENDS THAT THE CONTRACT PRICE BE INCREASED BY $200.

WE AGREE THAT A BONA FIDE MISTAKE IN BID WAS MADE AS ALLEGED AND THAT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE CONTRACTOR'S BID OF $480 AND THOSE OF THE OTHER BIDDERS, WHICH VARIED FROM $691 TO $1,407, WAS SUFFICIENT TO CHARGE THE CONTRACTING OFFICER WITH CONSTRUCTIVE KNOWLEDGE OF THE ERROR. UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES, A VERIFICATION OF THE BID SHOULD HAVE BEEN REQUESTED BEFORE AWARD.

FURTHERMORE, THE INVITATION ISSUED IN THE PRESENT CASE WAS NOT CLEAR AND UNAMBIGUOUS IN THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS DID NOT INCLUDE THE REQUIREMENT FOR MAKING REVERSES AND STRIPPING SCREEN TINTS. IT APPEARS THAT PUBLICATION PRESS, INC., OMITTED THE COST OF LINE ILLUSTRATIONS AND HALFTONE TINTS FROM ITS COMPUTATION BECAUSE THE SPECIFICATIONS FAILED TO INCLUDE THE REQUIREMENT FOR MAKING REVERSES AND STRIPPING SCREEN TINTS. THUS, IT APPEARS THAT SUCH ERROR AS WAS MADE IN THE BID WAS NOT DUE SOLELY TO ITS OWN NEGLIGENCE OR OVERSIGHT AND WAS PARTLY INDUCED OR CONTRIBUTED TO BY THE GOVERNMENT.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, AND SINCE AN ADJUSTMENT OF THE CONTRACT PRICE AS RECOMMENDED WOULD NOT RESULT IN A PRICE FOR THE PAMPHLETS IN EXCESS OF THE NEXT LOWEST ACCEPTABLE BID, THE CONTRACT PRICE MAY BE ADJUSTED BY INCREASING THE PRICE FOR THE PAMPHLETS FROM $480 TO $680.

THE ENCLOSURES TO THE LETTER OF NOVEMBER 13, 1968, ARE RETURNED HEREWITH AS REQUESTED. A REFERENCE TO THIS DECISION SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN THE CONTRACT FILE.