B-170486, SEP. 10, 1970

B-170486: Sep 10, 1970

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BY FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION IS DENIED. SINCE DOUBT EXISTED IN COMPLYING WITH THE INVITATION REQUIREMENTS CLARIFICATION OF THE BID AFTER BID OPENING IS NOT PROPER. THEREFORE THE AMBIGUOUS BID WAS PROPERLY REJECTED AS NON-RESPONSIVE. RAMBO AND MAIR: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED JULY 2. IT WAS A CONDITION OF SECTION 2(A)(3) OF THE QUALIFICATIONS PROVISION OF THE INVITATION THAT THE BIDDER. (ACQUISITION OF THE 'IN-FILE' INFORMATION WILL NOT COMPLY WITH THE SPECIFICATIONS UNLESS IT HAS BEEN BROUGHT UP TO DATE BY THE REPOSITORY.). A QUESTIONNAIRE WAS INCLUDED IN THE INVITATION FOR BIDS FOR COMPLETION BY BIDDERS AS TO THE FOREGOING ELEMENTS OF QUALIFICATION. THE THREE QUESTIONS WERE AS FOLLOWS: "11.

B-170486, SEP. 10, 1970

BID PROTEST - QUALIFIED BIDS PROTEST ON BEHALF OF THE WIRSING REPORTS, AGAINST THE REJECTION OF BID FOR FURNISHING CREDIT REPORTS ON INDIVIDUALS FOR A CERTAIN PERIOD UNDER IFB, BY FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION IS DENIED. BIDDER WHO FAILED TO PROVIDE THE CORRECT INFORMATION ON A QUESTIONNAIRE INCLUDED WITH IFB AS TO THE ELEMENTS OF QUALIFICATIONS PERTAINING TO IN- FILE AND BIDDER'S INTENTIONS IN OBTAINING UP-TO-DATE INFORMATION FOR FURNISHING CREDIT REPORTS ON INDIVIDUALS SUBMITTED AN AMBIGUOUS BID CREATING DOUBTS AS TO WHETHER THE BIDDER INTENDED TO FURNISH THE LATEST CREDIT INFORMATION. SINCE DOUBT EXISTED IN COMPLYING WITH THE INVITATION REQUIREMENTS CLARIFICATION OF THE BID AFTER BID OPENING IS NOT PROPER. THEREFORE THE AMBIGUOUS BID WAS PROPERLY REJECTED AS NON-RESPONSIVE.

TO MR. DONALD O. HOVEY, RAMBO AND MAIR:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED JULY 2, 1970, WITH ENCLOSURES, PROTESTING THE REJECTION OF THE BID SUBMITTED BY WIRSING REPORTS UNDER FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION INVITATION FOR BIDS HPMC-FHA-001-71.

THE INVITATION SOLICITED BIDS FOR FURNISHING CREDIT REPORTS ON INDIVIDUALS DURING THE PERIOD OF JULY 1, 1970, TO JUNE 30, 1971. IT WAS A CONDITION OF SECTION 2(A)(3) OF THE QUALIFICATIONS PROVISION OF THE INVITATION THAT THE BIDDER--

"(A) BE THE REPOSITORY OF ACCUMULATED CREDIT RECORDS ON INDIVIDUALS IN THE COMMUNITYIES) IN THE AREA COVERED BY THE BID *** ; OR

"(B) IF NOT THE REPOSITORY, STATE THAT HE INTENDS TO PURCHASE OR OTHERWISE OBTAIN THE INFORMATION IN (A) ABOVE FROM THE REPOSITORY OF ACCUMULATED CREDIT RECORDS BROUGHT UP TO DATE BY SUCH REPOSITORY. (ACQUISITION OF THE 'IN-FILE' INFORMATION WILL NOT COMPLY WITH THE SPECIFICATIONS UNLESS IT HAS BEEN BROUGHT UP TO DATE BY THE REPOSITORY.) BIDDER MUST ALSO SUBMIT WITH HIS BID, A FULL EXPLANATION OF ARRANGEMENTS TO OBTAIN THE INFORMATION FROM THE REPOSITORY OF ACCUMULATED CREDIT RECORDS, THE PRICE TO BE PAID IF HE INTENDS TO PURCHASE, AND EVIDENCE OF THE AGREEMENTS."

A QUESTIONNAIRE WAS INCLUDED IN THE INVITATION FOR BIDS FOR COMPLETION BY BIDDERS AS TO THE FOREGOING ELEMENTS OF QUALIFICATION. WIRSING FURNISHED A COMPLETED QUESTIONNAIRE WITH ITS BID. THREE OF THE QUESTIONS IN THE QUESTIONNAIRE RELATED TO THE ABOVE-QUOTED CONDITION. THE THREE QUESTIONS WERE AS FOLLOWS:

"11. BIDDER IS THE REPOSITORY (AS DEFINED UNDER QUALIFICATIONS, 3(A)) OF UP-DATED ACCUMULATED CREDIT RECORDS ON THE INDIVIDUALS IN THE COMMUNITYIES) IN THE AREA COVERED BY THE BID. (CHECK ONE) -- YES -- NO

"12. BIDDER INTENDS TO PURCHASE OR OTHERWISE OBTAIN THE INFORMATION FROM THE REPOSITORY OF ACCUMULATED CREDIT RECORDS BROUGHT UP TO DATE BY SUCH REPOSITORY (ACQUISITION OF THE 'IN FILE' INFORMATION WILL NOT COMPLY WITH THE SPECIFICATION UNLESS IT HAS BEEN BROUGHT UP TO DATE BY THE REPOSITORY). (CHECK ONE IF THE ANSWER TO NO. 11 ABOVE IS 'NO') -- YES -- NO

"13. IF THE ANSWER TO NO. 12 ABOVE IS 'YES', THE BIDDER MUST SUBMIT WITH THIS BID THE FOLLOWING:

(A) A FULL EXPLANATION OF THE ARRANGEMENTS TO OBTAIN THE INFORMATION FROM THE REPOSITORY OF ACCUMULATED CREDIT RECORDS;

(B) THE NAME OF THE FIRMS FROM WHICH HE WILL PROCURE SUCH INFORMATION WITH EVIDENCE OF THE AGREEMENTS; AND

(C) THE PRICE TO BE PAID IF HE WILL PURCHASE."

WIRSING CHECKED "NO" FOR THE FIRST QUESTION AND "YES" FOR THE SECOND QUESTION. WITH RESPECT TO PART (A) OF THE THIRD QUESTION, IT ANSWERED:

"WIRSING REPORTS IS A MEMBER OF RETAIL MERCHANTS CREDIT ASSOCIATION WHO, IS A REPOSITORY FOR 'IN-FILE' INFORMATION. THEY WILL SUPPLY US WITH ALL IN-FILE INFORMATION COVERING THE COUNTIES OF THE PHILADELPHIA METROPOLITAN AREA. IN ADDITION WE ARE ALSO MEMBERS OF THE CHESTER CREDIT BUREAU, REAL ESTATE REPORTING SERVICE INC., OF NEW JERSEY FROM WHOM WE MAY RECEIVE ADDITIONAL 'IN-FILE' INFORMATION."

SINCE THE INVITATION FOR BIDS PROVIDED THAT "IN-FILE" INFORMATION WILL NOT COMPLY WITH THE SPECIFICATION UNLESS IT IS BROUGHT UP TO DATE BY THE REPOSITORY AND SINCE THE ANSWER TO THE LAST QUESTION INDICATED THAT WIRSING HAD ONLY MADE ARRANGEMENTS FOR "IN-FILE" INFORMATION--AND "IN- FILE" INFORMATION IS NOT NECESSARILY THE MOST CURRENT INFORMATION- THE BID WAS REJECTED AS NONRESPONSIVE.

YOU HAVE STATED THAT THE BID SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN REJECTED AS NONRESPONSIVE INASMUCH AS THE ANSWER TO THE SECOND QUESTION WAS TO INDICATE THAT UP-TO-DATE INFORMATION WOULD BE FURNISHED AND THE RESPONSE TO THE THIRD QUESTION WAS ONLY TO INDICATE THE ARRANGEMENTS THAT HAD BEEN MADE TO OBTAIN THE INFORMATION. YOU HAVE FURNISHED AN AFFIDAVIT FROM THE PRESIDENT OF WIRSING REPORTS STATING THAT THERE WAS NO INTENTION TO QUALIFY THE BID.

THE BID FROM WIRSING REPORTS IS AT LEAST AMBIGUOUS. ALTHOUGH, ON THE ONE HAND, IT INDICATES IN ANSWER TO THE SECOND QUESTION THAT IT INTENDS TO FURNISH UP-TO-DATE INFORMATION, IN ANSWER TO THE THIRD QUESTION, IN EXPLAINING THE ARRANGEMENTS IT HAS MADE TO OBTAIN INFORMATION, IT SPEAKS ONLY OF HAVING MADE ARRANGEMENTS FOR "IN-FILE" INFORMATION WHICH IS NOT NECESSARILY THE MOST RECENT CREDIT INFORMATION ON INDIVIDUALS. WHILE THE ANSWER TO THE THIRD QUESTION MAY HAVE BEEN INTENDED TO DO NO MORE THAN INDICATE THE ARRANGEMENTS THAT HAD BEEN MADE TO OBTAIN CREDIT INFORMATION, IT REFERS ONLY TO "IN-FILE" INFORMATION AND CREATES DOUBT AS TO WHETHER THE BIDDER INTENDED TO FURNISH THE LATEST CREDIT INFORMATION.

OUR OFFICE HAS HELD THAT, IF A BID IS PREPARED SO AS TO CREATE DOUBT AS TO THE BIDDER'S INTENTION TO COMPLY WITH THE INVITATION REQUIREMENTS, CLARIFICATION OF THE BID AFTER BID OPENING IS NOT PROPER AND THE AMBIGUOUS BID MUST BE REJECTED AS NONRESPONSIVE. B-170006, AUGUST 17, 1970, AND B- 164711, SEPTEMBER 30, 1968.

ACCORDINGLY, THE REJECTION OF THE BID FROM WIRSING REPORTS DOES NOT APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN IMPROPER IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES.