B-169837, MAY 27, 1970

B-169837: May 27, 1970

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WAS PROPERLY REJECTED AS NONRESPONSIVE. ALTHOUGH BID WAS LOWEST SUBMITTED AND DELIVERED BY CERTIFIED MAIL. EVIDENCE IS INSUFFICIENT TO ESTABLISH REQUISITE INTENT OF BIDDER TO BE BOUND. STRICT MAINTENANCE OF COMPETITIVE BIDDING SYSTEM IS BELIEVED TO BE MORE IN PUBLIC INTEREST THAN POSSIBLE PECUNIARY ADVANTAGE DERIVED IN PARTICULAR CASE THROUGH VIOLATION OF SYSTEM'S RULES. TO GENERAL CONNECTOR CORPORATION: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 15. YOU REPORT THAT ALTHOUGH THE NAME AND TITLE OF THE PERSON AUTHORIZED TO SIGN THE BID WAS TYPED IN THE APPROPRIATE PLACE. IT WAS MAILED UNSIGNED DUE TO INADVERTANCE ON THE PART OF A NEW EMPLOYEE UNFAMILIAR WITH COMPANY PROCEDURES. YOU CONTEND THAT THE FAILURE TO SIGN THE BID SHOULD BE WAIVED AS A MINOR IRREGULARITY AS YOUR INTENT TO SUBMIT A VALID AND BINDING BID IS INDICATED BY THE FACT THAT IT WAS SENT BY CERTIFIED MAIL AND YOU HAVE PREVIOUSLY SUPPLIED THE ITEM BEING PROCURED.

B-169837, MAY 27, 1970

BIDS--UNSIGNED--BID DEFECT-- LOW BID WHICH INCLUDED TYPEWRITTEN NAME AND TITLE OF PERSON AUTHORIZED TO SIGN, BUT NO SIGNATURE, WAS PROPERLY REJECTED AS NONRESPONSIVE, SUCH ERROR NOT BEING SUBJECT TO WAIVER AS MINOR INFORMALITY ABSENT DOCUMENTARY PROOF REQUIRED IN ASPR 2-405 (III) (A) AND (B). ALTHOUGH BID WAS LOWEST SUBMITTED AND DELIVERED BY CERTIFIED MAIL, EVIDENCE IS INSUFFICIENT TO ESTABLISH REQUISITE INTENT OF BIDDER TO BE BOUND. MOREOVER, STRICT MAINTENANCE OF COMPETITIVE BIDDING SYSTEM IS BELIEVED TO BE MORE IN PUBLIC INTEREST THAN POSSIBLE PECUNIARY ADVANTAGE DERIVED IN PARTICULAR CASE THROUGH VIOLATION OF SYSTEM'S RULES. SEE COMP. GEN. DECS. CITED.

TO GENERAL CONNECTOR CORPORATION:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 15, 1970, WITH ENCLOSURE, PROTESTING AGAINST REJECTION OF YOUR BID AS NONRESPONSIVE UNDER INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. DAAB05-70-B-0650, ISSUED BY THE UNITED STATES ARMY ELECTRONICS COMMAND, PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA.

YOU REPORT THAT ALTHOUGH THE NAME AND TITLE OF THE PERSON AUTHORIZED TO SIGN THE BID WAS TYPED IN THE APPROPRIATE PLACE, IT WAS MAILED UNSIGNED DUE TO INADVERTANCE ON THE PART OF A NEW EMPLOYEE UNFAMILIAR WITH COMPANY PROCEDURES. YOU CONTEND THAT THE FAILURE TO SIGN THE BID SHOULD BE WAIVED AS A MINOR IRREGULARITY AS YOUR INTENT TO SUBMIT A VALID AND BINDING BID IS INDICATED BY THE FACT THAT IT WAS SENT BY CERTIFIED MAIL AND YOU HAVE PREVIOUSLY SUPPLIED THE ITEM BEING PROCURED. YOU ALSO POINT OUT THAT YOUR BID WAS LOW.

THE LACK OF A SIGNATURE ON YOUR BID COULD NOT BE WAIVED OR CORRECTED AFTER OPENING AS A MINOR INFORMALITY OR IRREGULARITY UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF ARMED SERVICES PROCUREMENT REGULATION 2-405 (III), WHICH PROVIDES THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER SHALL EITHER GIVE THE BIDDER AN OPPORTUNITY TO CORRECT THE FAILURE TO SIGN A BID OR WAIVE SUCH DEFICIENCY, BUT ONLY IF --

"(A) THE FIRM SUBMITTING THE BID HAS FORMALLY ADOPTED OR AUTHORIZED THE EXECUTION OF DOCUMENTS BY TYPEWRITTEN, PRINTED, OR RUBBER STAMPED SIGNATURE AND SUBMITS EVIDENCE OF SUCH AUTHORIZATION AND THE BID CARRIES SUCH A SIGNATURE, OR

"(B) THE UNSIGNED BID IS ACCOMPANIED BY OTHER MATERIAL INDICATING THE BIDDER'S INTENTION TO BE BOUND BY THE UNSIGNED BID DOCUMENT SUCH AS THE SUBMISSION OF A BID GUARANTEE WITH BID, OR A LETTER SIGNED BY THE BIDDER WITH THE BID REFERRING TO AND CLEARLY IDENTIFYING THE BID ITSELF;"

THE ABOVE-CITED REGULATION IS IN ACCORD WITH THE DECISIONS OF OUR OFFICE IN WHICH WE HAVE HELD THAT UNSIGNED BIDS MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED FOR AWARD UNLESS THE BID IS ACCOMPANIED BY DOCUMENTARY OR OTHER EVIDENCE SHOWING A CLEAR INTENT TO BE BOUND BY ALL OF THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE BID. 36 COMP. GEN. 523 (1957), AND CASES CITED. WE FIND NO SUCH EVIDENCE OF YOUR INTENTION. EVEN THOUGH YOUR BID MAY HAVE BEEN LOW, IT IS THE POSITION OF OUR OFFICE THAT THE STRICT MAINTENANCE OF THE COMPETITIVE BIDDING SYSTEM, REQUIRED BY LAW, IS INFINITELY MORE IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST THAN THE OBTAINING OF A POSSIBLE PECUNIARY ADVANTAGE IN A PARTICULAR CASE BY A VIOLATION OF THE RULES. 17 COMP. GEN. 554 (1938).

ACCORDINGLY, THERE IS NO BASIS FOR OUR OFFICE TO TAKE EXCEPTION TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION IN REJECTING YOUR BID.