B-167132, JUN. 16, 1969

B-167132: Jun 16, 1969

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

(A) NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT A BLANK IS PROVIDED FOR A TEN (10) DAY DISCOUNT. PROMPT PAYMENT DISCOUNTS OFFERED FOR PAYMENT WITHIN LESS THAN TWENTY (20) CALENDAR DAYS WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED IN EVALUATING OFFERS FOR AWARD. OFFERED DISCOUNTS OF LESS THAN 20 DAYS WILL BE TAKEN IF PAYMENT IS MADE WITHIN THE DISCOUNT PERIOD. BIDDERS ARE SPECIFICALLY INFORMED THAT ALL OFFERS ARE SUBJECT TO THE "ATTACHED SOLICITATION INSTRUCTIONS AND CONDITIONS. PARAGRAPH 9 OF THE LATTER FORM WARNS BIDDERS THAT NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT A BLANK IS PROVIDED FOR A 10-DAY DISCOUNT. PROMPT PAYMENT DISCOUNTS OFFERED FOR LESS THAN 20 DAYS WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED IN THE EVALUATION OF OFFERS. THIS PROVISION IS IN ACCORD WITH THE LONG-STANDING RULE THAT COMPETITIVE BIDS MUST BE EVALUATED ON THE BASIS PRESCRIBED IN THE INVITATION.

B-167132, JUN. 16, 1969

AND MADE A PART OF THE INVITATION PACKAGE, WHICH PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS: "9. DISCOUNTS. (A) NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT A BLANK IS PROVIDED FOR A TEN (10) DAY DISCOUNT, PROMPT PAYMENT DISCOUNTS OFFERED FOR PAYMENT WITHIN LESS THAN TWENTY (20) CALENDAR DAYS WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED IN EVALUATING OFFERS FOR AWARD, UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFIED IN THE SOLICITATION. HOWEVER, OFFERED DISCOUNTS OF LESS THAN 20 DAYS WILL BE TAKEN IF PAYMENT IS MADE WITHIN THE DISCOUNT PERIOD, EVEN THOUGH NOT CONSIDERED IN THE EVALUATION OF OFFERS. ***"

YOU CONTEND THAT SINCE BLOCK 16 CONTAINED NO WARNING THAT THE 10-DAY PROMPT PAYMENT DISCOUNT WOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED IN THE EVALUATION AND YOUR CLIENT RELIED UPON IT BEING COMPUTED IN THE EVALUATION, IT SHOULD BE SO CONSIDERED OR THE INVITATION SHOULD BE CANCELLED AND REVISED TO MAKE BLOCK 16 OF SF 33 CONSISTENT WITH PARAGRAPH 9 OF SF 33A.

ON THE FIRST PAGE OF THE INVITATION, BLOCK 9 OF SF 33, SOLICITATION, OFFER, AND AWARD, BIDDERS ARE SPECIFICALLY INFORMED THAT ALL OFFERS ARE SUBJECT TO THE "ATTACHED SOLICITATION INSTRUCTIONS AND CONDITIONS, SF 33A.' PARAGRAPH 9 OF THE LATTER FORM WARNS BIDDERS THAT NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT A BLANK IS PROVIDED FOR A 10-DAY DISCOUNT, PROMPT PAYMENT DISCOUNTS OFFERED FOR LESS THAN 20 DAYS WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED IN THE EVALUATION OF OFFERS. FEDERAL PROCUREMENT REGULATIONS 1-2.407-3 (C) PROHIBITS EVALUATION OF PROMPT PAYMENT DISCOUNTS FOR TIME PERIODS LESS THAN SPECIFIED IN THE INVITATION FOR BIDS. THIS PROVISION IS IN ACCORD WITH THE LONG-STANDING RULE THAT COMPETITIVE BIDS MUST BE EVALUATED ON THE BASIS PRESCRIBED IN THE INVITATION. SINCE THE CONSIDERATION OF PAYMENT DISCOUNTS OF LESS THAN 20 DAYS WAS NOT OTHERWISE SPECIFIED IN THE INVITATION, ALL BIDDERS WERE ENTITLED TO RELY UPON PARAGRAPH 9 OF SF 33A AND THE 10-DAY DISCOUNT OFFERED BY YOUR CLIENT COULD NOT BE CONSIDERED WITHOUT PREJUDICE TO THE OTHER BIDDERS. OTHERWISE, THE BIDDERS WOULD NOT BE COMPETING ON AN EQUAL BASIS AS REQUIRED BY LAW SINCE THEY WOULD NOT KNOW THE PRECISE BASIS UPON WHICH BIDS WERE BEING EVALUATED. B-164712, AUGUST 8, 1968. THEREFORE, UNDER THE TERMS OF THE INVITATION DIS-VET WAS PROPERLY EVALUATED THE LOW BIDDER.

WE DO NOT AGREE WITH YOUR CONTENTION THAT BLOCK 16 OF SF 33 IS INCONSISTENT WITH PARAGRAPH 9 OF SF 33A. THE LATTER PARAGRAPH SPECIFICALLY REFERS TO THE FACT THAT ALTHOUGH A BLANK IS PROVIDED FOR A 10 -DAY DISCOUNT, PAYMENT DISCOUNTS OFFERED FOR LESS THAN 20 DAYS WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED IN THE EVALUATION. HOWEVER, WE DO BELIEVE THAT BLOCK 16 OF SF 33 SHOULD BE REVISED TO CALL BIDDERS' ATTENTION SPECIFICALLY TO PARAGRAPH 9 OF SF 33A. THIS RECOMMENDATION WAS MADE TO THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION IN OUR DECISION, B-164712, AUGUST 8, 1968. AS A RESULT, VETERANS ADMINISTRATION PROCUREMENT REGULATION 8 2.407-3 (A) WAS REVISED ON SEPTEMBER 27, 1968, TO PROVIDE AS FOLLOWS. ,SEC. 8-2.407-3 DISCOUNTS.

(A) THE CONTRACTING OFFICER WILL, AS PROVIDED IN FPR 1-2.407-3, ESTABLISH THE MINIMUM DISCOUNT PERIOD THAT WILL BE CONSIDERED IN EVALUATING OFFERS FOR AWARD. WHEN THIS PERIOD IS DETERMINED TO BE 10 DAYS, THIS FACT WILL BE SO STATED IN THE SOLICITATION. IF, HOWEVER, THE PERIOD IS DETERMINED TO BE IN EXCESS OF 10 DAYS, THE FOLLOWING ANNOTATION WILL BE INSERTED IN BLOCK 16 OF STANDARD FORM 33 IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THE WORD -PAYMENT-: (SEE PARAGRAPH 9, STANDARD FORM 33A.-"

ALTHOUGH THE INVITATION IN THE INSTANT CASE WAS NOT ANNOTATED AS PROVIDED IN THE REGULATION, WE DO NOT BELIEVE THIS REQUIRES CANCELLATION AND READVERTISEMENT. OUR OFFICE HAS CONSISTENTLY HELD THAT THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT AND THE INTEGRITY OF THE COMPETITIVE BIDDING SYSTEM REQUIRE THAT AFTER BIDS ARE OPENED AND BIDDERS' PRICES DISCLOSED INVITATIONS SHOULD BE CANCELLED ONLY FOR THE MOST COGENT AND COMPELLING REASONS. COMP. GEN. 364. ALSO, SEE SECTION 1-2.404-1 (B) OF THE FEDERAL PROCUREMENT REGULATIONS. WE DO NOT BELIEVE THE OMISSION OF THE NOTICE CONTEMPLATED BY THE VA REGULATION IS SUCH A COGENT AND COMPELLING REASON. HOWEVER, WE ARE ADVISING THE ADMINISTRATOR THAT STEPS SHOULD BE TAKEN TO PREVENT A RECURRENCE OF THE OMISSION IN FUTURE PROCUREMENTS.

ACCORDINGLY, WE HAVE NO OBJECTION TO THE PROPOSED AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO DIS-VET SERVICE COMPANY.