B-166762, MAY 9, 1969

B-166762: May 9, 1969

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HARRISON: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED APRIL 21. REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE ACTION TO BE TAKEN CONCERNING AN ERROR ALLEGED BY THE CHERRY COMPANY TO HAVE BEEN MADE IN ITS BID UPON WHICH PURCHASE ORDER NO. 52789 WAS AWARDED. THE BID OF THE COMPANY WAS ACCEPTED ON JANUARY 10. "THE FOLDING CHARGE SHOULD HAVE BEEN PROPERLY MULTIPLIED AS: 148. THE COMPANY SUBMITTED COPIES OF ITS REVISED AND ORIGINAL ESTIMATE SHEETS WHICH SHOW THAT A DECIMAL POINT ERROR WAS MADE BY THE COMPANY AS ALLEGED. IT IS ALSO STATED THAT WHEN THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ADVISED THE CUSTOMER AGENCY OF THE AMOUNT QUOTED BY THE CHERRY COMPANY FOR THE JOB. YOU STATE THAT IT IS YOUR OPINION THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER WAS REMISS IN ACCEPTING THE APPROVAL OF THE COMPANY'S BID PRICE BY THE CUSTOMER AGENCY.

B-166762, MAY 9, 1969

TO MR. HARRISON:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED APRIL 21, 1969, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE ACTION TO BE TAKEN CONCERNING AN ERROR ALLEGED BY THE CHERRY COMPANY TO HAVE BEEN MADE IN ITS BID UPON WHICH PURCHASE ORDER NO. 52789 WAS AWARDED.

THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE (GPO) REQUESTED BIDS UNDER JACKET NO. 326- 337 FOR THE MANUFACTURE OF 148,500 COPIES OF A FORM ENTITLED "PATIENT INFORMATION AND ENVELOPE - THIRD NATIONAL CANCER SURVEY.' IN RESPONSE THE CHERRY COMPANY SUBMITTED THE ONLY BID RECEIVED IN WHICH IT OFFERED TO FURNISH THE FORMS FOR THE LUMP SUM OF $6,450. THE BID OF THE COMPANY WAS ACCEPTED ON JANUARY 10, 1969.

YOU STATE THAT UPON RECEIPT OF THE PURCHASE ORDER ON JANUARY 14, 1969,A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE CHERRY COMPANY TELEPHONED THE CONTRACTING OFFICER AND ADVISED HIM THAT IT HAD MADE AN ERROR OF APPROXIMATELY $2,400 IN COMPUTING ITS BID PRICE FOR THE FORMS AND THAT SUCH ERROR RESULTED FROM A MISPLACED DECIMAL POINT ON ITS ESTIMATE SHEET. IN A LETTER DATED APRIL 1, 1969, THE COMPANY TATED: "DUE TO AN ARITHMETIC ERROR IN COMPUTING OUR BID PRICE ON CITED JACKET, WE WOULD LIKE TO SUBMIT A CLAIM IN THE AMOUNT OF $2405.70 WHICH REPRESENTS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHAT WE ACTUALLY BID AND WHAT WE INTENDED TO BID. "THE ERROR RESULTED FROM A MISPLACED DECIMAL POINT IN COMPUTING THE COST OF HAND-FOLDING THE ENVELOPE WE MANUFACTURED. "THE FOLDING CHARGE SHOULD HAVE BEEN PROPERLY MULTIPLIED AS:

148,500 $18.00 M EQUALS $2673.00 WE INADVERTENTLY USED THE FIGURE OF $267.3) IN OUR ESTIMATE.' IN SUPPORT OF ITS ALLEGATION OF ERROR, THE COMPANY SUBMITTED COPIES OF ITS REVISED AND ORIGINAL ESTIMATE SHEETS WHICH SHOW THAT A DECIMAL POINT ERROR WAS MADE BY THE COMPANY AS ALLEGED.

YOU STATE THAT PRIOR TO AWARD, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER REVIEWED THE SPECIFICATIONS AND BECAUSE OF THE UNUSUAL NATURE OF THE PRODUCT ENDEAVORED TO OBTAIN OR DEVELOP A COMPARATIVE ESTIMATE AS A GUIDE IN EVALUATING THE BID, BUT NO REASONABLE ESTIMATE COULD BE MADE FROM THE PRICING STRUCTURES AVAILABLE IN THE CONTRACTING OFFICE. IT IS ALSO STATED THAT WHEN THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ADVISED THE CUSTOMER AGENCY OF THE AMOUNT QUOTED BY THE CHERRY COMPANY FOR THE JOB, THE CUSTOMER AGENCY MADE A VERBAL APPEAL THAT THE URGENT NEED FOR THE PRODUCT PRECLUDED THE OBTAINING OF AN ESTIMATE OF THE VALUE OF THE PRODUCT; AND THAT SINCE THE GPO HAD NO PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE ON THE PROCUREMENT OF THIS PRODUCT, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER, IN THE INTEREST OF SATISFYING THE CUSTOMER AGENCY'S URGENT REQUIREMENT, FAILED TO REQUEST THE COMPANY TO REVIEW AND CONFIRM ITS BID PRIOR TO AWARD. IN YOUR LETTER, IN WHICH YOU RECOMMEND THAT THE CHERRY COMPANY BE PAID AN ADDITIONAL SUM OF $2,405.70 FOR THE FORMS, YOU STATE THAT IT IS YOUR OPINION THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER WAS REMISS IN ACCEPTING THE APPROVAL OF THE COMPANY'S BID PRICE BY THE CUSTOMER AGENCY.

ORDINARILY, WHERE, AS HERE, ONLY ONE BID IS RECEIVED ON AN ITEM, THERE IS NO BASIS FOR COMPARISON OF BIDS; HENCE, THERE IS NOTHING TO PLACE THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ON NOTICE OF THE PROBABILITY OF ERROR IN THE BID. SEE 17 COMP. GEN. 560; 26 ID. 415. HOWEVER, THE REPORTED FACTS INDICATE THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER WOULD HAVE HAD AN ESTIMATE OF THE COST OF THE PRODUCT BUT FOR THE INSISTENCE OF THE CUSTOMER AGENCY THAT THE URGENT NEED FOR THE PRODUCT PRECLUDED THE PREPARATION OF AN ESTIMATE. THE RECORD ALSO INDICATES THAT HAD AN ESTIMATE OF THE COST OF THE PRODUCT BEEN PREPARED, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER WOULD HAVE, ON THE BASIS OF SUCH ESTIMATE, REQUESTED THE COMPANY TO VERIFY ITS BID PRICE. IN SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES, IT IS REASONABLE TO ASSUME THAT THE COMPANY WOULD HAVE ASSERTED ITS CLAIM OF MISTAKE IF VERIFICATION HAD BEEN REQUESTED.

ACCORDINGLY, AND SINCE THE FORMS HAVE BEEN DELIVERED AND PAID FOR, AN ADDITIONAL PAYMENT OF $2,405.70 IS AUTHORIZED TO BE MADE TO THE CHERRY COMPANY FOR THE FORMS DELIVERED UNDER PURCHASE ORDER NO. 52789, AS RECOMMENDED BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER.

A REFERENCE TO THIS DECISION SHOULD BE MADE ON THE VOUCHER COVERING THE ADDITIONAL PAYMENT. YOUR FILE IN THE MATTER IS RETURNED.