B-169986, JUN. 18, 1970

B-169986: Jun 18, 1970

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CAMPIOLI: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 5. REQUESTING A DECISION WHETHER THE BID OF HAMILTON MANUFACTURING COMPANY TO SUPPLY CERTAIN MAP- CASE DRAWER SECTIONS AND CAPS AND BASES FOR THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS MAY BE REDUCED TO CORRECT AN ERROR ALLEGED TO HAVE OCCURRED IN THE PREPARATION OF THE BID. THE BID FORM IS DIVIDED INTO TWO PARTS. NO UNIT PRICES ARE SOLICITED FOR THE FIRST PART. TWO BIDS WERE OPENED AT THE MAY 18. 387.94 WERE RECEIVED FROM UNITED UNIVERSAL CORP. 534.20 IN COMPUTING ITS BID INSTEAD OF $453.42 WITH THE RESULT THAT THE LUMP-SUM BID SHOULD HAVE BEEN $27. HAMILTON CONTENDS THAT THE ERROR SHOULD BE CORRECTED BECAUSE THE UNIT BID PRICES MAY BE APPLIED TO THE BASIC QUANTITIES SPECIFIED TO ESTABLISH THAT AN ARITHMETICAL MISTAKE WAS IN FACT MADE AND ITS INTENDED BID.

B-169986, JUN. 18, 1970

BIDS--MISTAKES--CORRECTION--LOW BID DISPLACEMENT SECOND LOW BIDDER'S REQUEST FOR BID CORRECTION, AFTER BID OPENING, WHERE CORRECTION WOULD DISPLACE LOW BID UNDER 2-PART INVITATION SOLICITING SINGLE LUMP-SUM PRICE FOR PART 1, AND UNIT PRICES ONLY FOR ADDITIONAL QUANTITIES IN PART 2, ON BASIS UNIT PRICE SHOULD BE APPLIED TO BASIC QUANTITIES TO ESTABLISH FACT OF ARITHMETICAL ERROR IN COMPUTING LUMP-SUM PRICE, MUST BE DENIED SINCE WHERE DOWNWARD CORRECTION RESULTS IN DISPLACEMENT OF OTHER BIDDER, GOVERNMENT'S INTEREST IN MAINTAINING COMPETITIVE BIDDING DICTATES DENIAL OF CORRECTION UNLESS ERROR CAN BE ASCERTAINED SUBSTANTIALLY FROM INVITATION AND BID ITSELF. SEE COMP. GEN. DECS. CITED.

TO MR. CAMPIOLI:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 5, 1970, REQUESTING A DECISION WHETHER THE BID OF HAMILTON MANUFACTURING COMPANY TO SUPPLY CERTAIN MAP- CASE DRAWER SECTIONS AND CAPS AND BASES FOR THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS MAY BE REDUCED TO CORRECT AN ERROR ALLEGED TO HAVE OCCURRED IN THE PREPARATION OF THE BID.

WITH RESPECT TO PRICING, THE BID FORM IS DIVIDED INTO TWO PARTS. THE FIRST PART REQUESTS BIDDERS TO QUOTE A SINGLE LUMP-SUM PRICE FOR FURNISHING SPECIFIED QUANTITIES OF THE ARTICLES. NO UNIT PRICES ARE SOLICITED FOR THE FIRST PART. THE SECOND PART SOLICITS UNIT PRICES ONLY FOR ANY ADDITIONAL QUANTITY OF THE ARTICLES THAT MAY BE ORDERED OVER AND ABOVE THE BASIC QUANTITY.

TWO BIDS WERE OPENED AT THE MAY 18, 1970, BID OPENING. LUMP-SUM BIDS IN THE AMOUNTS OF $30,734.95 AND $31,387.94 WERE RECEIVED FROM UNITED UNIVERSAL CORP. AND HAMILTON MANUFACTURING COMPANY, RESPECTIVELY. LETTER OF MAY 21, 1970, HAMILTON ALLEGED THAT IN COMPUTING THE LUMP-SUM BID, IT MADE AN ERROR IN EXTENDING THE PRICE FOR 33 MAP-CASE SECTIONS BASES ON WHICH IT BID $13.74 A UNIT FOR ADDITIONAL QUANTITIES. IT ALLEGED THAT IT USED THE AMOUNT OF $4,534.20 IN COMPUTING ITS BID INSTEAD OF $453.42 WITH THE RESULT THAT THE LUMP-SUM BID SHOULD HAVE BEEN $27,307.16 INSTEAD OF $31,387.94. BY LETTER OF MAY 29, 1970, HAMILTON FURNISHED A NOTARIZED WORKSHEET WHICH SHOWS AN INCORRECT EXTENSION AS CLAIMED. IN THE MAY 29 LETTER, HAMILTON CONTENDS THAT THE ERROR SHOULD BE CORRECTED BECAUSE THE UNIT BID PRICES MAY BE APPLIED TO THE BASIC QUANTITIES SPECIFIED TO ESTABLISH THAT AN ARITHMETICAL MISTAKE WAS IN FACT MADE AND ITS INTENDED BID.

AS INDICATED ABOVE, THE PRICE FOR THE BASIC QUANTITY WAS SOLICITED ON A LUMP-SUM BASIS WITHOUT ANY REQUIREMENT FOR STATING UNIT PRICES FOR THAT PORTION OF THE BID FORM. THE UNIT PRICES THAT WERE SOLICITED WERE ONLY FOR ADDITIONAL QUANTITIES. THERE IS NOTHING ON THE FACE OF THE BID INDICATING THAT THE PRICES QUOTED FOR THE ADDITIONAL QUANTITIES ARE THE SAME PRICES COMPRISING THE BASIC LUMP-SUM BID. MOREOVER, IT DOES NOT NECESSARILY FOLLOW THAT THE PRICES QUOTED FOR THE ADDITIONAL QUANTITIES WOULD BE THE SAME AS THOSE FOR THE BASIC QUANTITIES. THUS, THE FACT THAT THE APPLICATION OF THE ADDITIONAL QUANTITY UNIT PRICES TO THE BASIC QUANTITIES PRODUCES A LOWER TOTAL THAN THE LUMP-SUM PRICE QUOTED BY THE BIDDER FOR THE BASIC QUANTITY DOES NOT ESTABLISH THAT AN ERROR WAS MADE IN THE LUMP-SUM BID AND THAT A LOWER LUMP-SUM PRICE WAS INTENDED.

WHEN AN ERROR IS NOT APPARENT ON THE FACE OF THE BID AND A CORRECTION HAS THE EFFECT OF DISPLACING A LOWER BIDDER, A DOWNWARD CORRECTION IS NOT ALLOWED. 42 COMP. GEN. 257 (1962; 41 ID. 469, 472 (1962); AND 37 ID. 210 (1957). IN THAT CONNECTION, IN 37 COMP. GEN. 210, AT PAGE 212, IT WAS STATED:

"HOWEVER, WE HAVE ALMOST NEVER PERMITTED A CORRECTION OF AN ERROR IN BID WHICH WOULD RESULT IN A BID NOT THE LOWEST SUBMITTED BECOMING LOWEST, AND THE ONLY RECENT CASE INVOLVING SUCH A SITUATION, B-128175, JUNE 19, 1956, WAS ONE IN WHICH NOT ONLY THE ERROR BUT THE AMOUNT OF THE INTENDED BID WAS ASCERTAINABLE ON THE FACE OF THE INVITATION AND BID, SO THAT RESORT TO THE BIDDER'S WORK PAPERS OR OTHER EXTRANEOUS EVIDENCE WAS NOT ESSENTIAL. WHERE CORRECTION IS ALLOWED IN A BID WHICH IS ON ITS FACE THE LOWEST RECEIVED, AND THE CORRECTION DOES NOT MAKE IT HIGHER THAN THE NEXT LOWEST BID, THE RIGHTS OF OTHER BIDDERS ARE NOT SUBSTANTIALLY AFFECTED; BUT IN A CASE SUCH AS HERE PRESENTED, WHERE A DOWNWARD CORRECTION WOULD RESULT IN DISPLACEMENT OF ONE OR MORE OTHER BIDDERS, WE FEEL THAT THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT IN PRESERVING AND MAINTAINING THE COMPETITIVE BIDDING SYSTEM REQUIRES THAT THE RIGHTS OF OTHER BIDDERS BE CONSIDERED AS CALLING FOR DENIAL OF THE CORRECTION, EXCEPT WHERE IT CAN BE ASCERTAINED SUBSTANTIALLY FROM THE INVITATION AND THE BID ITSELF."

CORRECTION OF THE HAMILTON BID IS NOT AUTHORIZED IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES.