B-170538(1), B-170538(2), B-171040, JAN 18, 1971

B-170538(1),B-170538(2),B-171040: Jan 18, 1971

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ON WHICH THE AWARD WAS BASED WAS INCONSISTENT WITH THE ANNOUNCED INTENTION OF TESTING A SIMPLIFIED BIDDING METHOD. WHICHEVER WILL PRODUCE THE LOWEST COST TO THE GOVERNMENT. TO GENERAL HEDLUND: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTERS DSAH-G OF AUGUST 28 AND OCTOBER 23. ALL THREE PROTESTS ARE BEING CONSIDERED TOGETHER BECAUSE THE FACTS. INVITATION PROVISIONS AND ISSUE ARE SUBSTANTIALLY THE SAME. AN ARROW DIRECTED ATTENTION TO ANOTHER TYPEWRITTEN STATEMENT: "NOTE: CAREFULLY - THIS SOLICITATION IS A TEST PROCUREMENT WHICH INVITES OFFERS ON TWO BASIS - SEE DETAILS ON PAGE 2 OF THIS CAUTION NOTICE.". THERE WAS TYPED: "LIMITING OF BLOCK BIDDING (TEST) "THIS SOLICITATION IS A TEST PROCUREMENT TO DETERMINE THE FEASIBILITY OF PROHIBITING COMPLEX OFFERS BROUGHT ABOUT BY TECHNIQUES OF BLOCK BIDS.

B-170538(1), B-170538(2), B-171040, JAN 18, 1971

BID PROTEST - EVALUATION CONCERNING PROTESTS BY SADDLER TEXTILES, INC., PRESTEX INC., AND PUTNAM MILLS CORPORATION UNDER INVITATIONS COVERING SATEEN AND DUCK CLOTH ISSUED BY THE DEFENSE SUPPLY AGENCY AGAINST AWARD BY THE GOVERNMENT TO THESE PROTESTORS BASED ON A COMBINATION OF OFFERS. AS THE INVITATION SOLICITED BIDS ON TWO BASES, ONE A SIMPLE BIDDING METHOD - OFFER A - AND THE OTHER A COMPLEX BLOCK BIDDING METHOD - OFFER B - IN ORDER TO COMPARE THE PRICES THAT WOULD BE RECEIVED ON THIS TEST PROCUREMENT, THE INTRODUCTION OF A THIRD METHOD OF EVALUATION COMBINING THE SIMPLE WITH THE COMPLEX METHOD, ON WHICH THE AWARD WAS BASED WAS INCONSISTENT WITH THE ANNOUNCED INTENTION OF TESTING A SIMPLIFIED BIDDING METHOD; THEREFORE, THE AWARD MADE TO EACH OF THE PROTESTANT'S SHOULD BE REVISED TO REFLECT EITHER ALL OFFER "A" PRICES OR ALL OFFER "B" PRICES, WHICHEVER WILL PRODUCE THE LOWEST COST TO THE GOVERNMENT.

TO GENERAL HEDLUND:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTERS DSAH-G OF AUGUST 28 AND OCTOBER 23, 1970, REPORTING ON THE PROTESTS OF PRESTEX INC., SADDLER TEXTILES, INC., AND PUTNAM MILLS CORPORATION, THE FORMER TWO COMPANIES WITH RESPECT TO AWARDS MADE TO THEM UNDER INVITATION FOR BIDS DSA100-70-B 1391 COVERING SATEEN CLOTH AND THE LATTER WITH RESPECT TO THE AWARD MADE TO IT UNDER INVITATION FOR BIDS DSA100-70-B-1386 COVERING DUCK CLOTH.

ALL THREE PROTESTS ARE BEING CONSIDERED TOGETHER BECAUSE THE FACTS, INVITATION PROVISIONS AND ISSUE ARE SUBSTANTIALLY THE SAME.

THE "INFORMATION TO BIDDERS" FORM ACCOMPANYING INVITATION -1391 CONTAINED A TYPEWRITTEN STATEMENT ALERTING BIDDERS AS FOLLOWS:

"PLEASE READ THIS CAUTION NOTICE IT CONTAINS SIGNIFICANT CHANGES WHICH MAY AFFECT YOUR BID." AN ARROW DIRECTED ATTENTION TO ANOTHER TYPEWRITTEN STATEMENT:

"NOTE: CAREFULLY - THIS SOLICITATION IS A TEST PROCUREMENT WHICH INVITES OFFERS ON TWO BASIS - SEE DETAILS ON PAGE 2 OF THIS CAUTION NOTICE." PAGE 2 CONTAINED THE FOLLOWING TYPED STATEMENT:

"TEST PROCUREMENT

"THIS SOLICITATION INVITES OFFERS ON TWO BASIS:

"OFFER A - SUBJECT TO QUANTITY LIMITATION PROHIBITION CLAUSE - SEE PAGES 7

"OFFER B - NOT SUBJECT TO QUANTITY LIMITATION PROHIBITION CLAUSE SPELLED OUT ON PAGES 7."

ON PAGE 7 OF THE INVITATION, THERE WAS TYPED:

"LIMITING OF BLOCK BIDDING (TEST)

"THIS SOLICITATION IS A TEST PROCUREMENT TO DETERMINE THE FEASIBILITY OF PROHIBITING COMPLEX OFFERS BROUGHT ABOUT BY TECHNIQUES OF BLOCK BIDS. THIS METHOD OF BIDDING HAS A TENDENCY TO DELAY BID EVALUATION AND SUBSEQUENT AWARDS. CONSEQUENTLY, THIS SOLICITATION INVITES OFFERS ON TWO BASES.

"OFFER A - SUBJECT TO QUANTITY LIMITATION PROHIBITION CLAUSE - SEE BELOW

"OFFER B - NOT SUBJECT TO QUANTITY LIMITATION PROHIBITION CLAUSE.

"AN OFFER MUST BE SUBMITTED ON BOTH AN OFFER A AND OFFER B BASIS. THE QUANTITY OFFERED ON EACH BASIS MUST BE EQUAL OR SUCH OFFERS WILL BE NON- RESPONSIVE. THE GOVERNMENT RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MAKE AWARDS ON SUCH BASIS AS THE CONTRACTING OFFICER DETERMINES TO BE MOST ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT, PRICE AND OTHER FACTORS CONSIDERED.

"QUANTITY LIMITATION PROHIBITION

"EACH OFFEROR SHALL SUBMIT ONE QUANTITY ONLY, AT ONE PRICE FOR EACH ITEM. (FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS CLAUSE, EACH DESTINATION IS AN ITEM.) HOWEVER, IF SOLICITATION SO AUTHORIZES, THIS ONE QUANTITY MAY BE OFFERED ON AN F.O.B. ORIGIN AND/OR F.O.B. DESTINATION BASIS.

"OFFERORS MAY STIPULATE MINIMUM/MAXIMUM QUANTITY ACCEPTABLE FOR EACH ITEM. IN ADDITION, OFFERORS MAY STIPULATE AN OVERALL ACCEPTABLE MINIMUM/MAXIMUM QUANTITY IF THE SOLICITATION REQUESTS OFFERS ON TWO OR MORE ITEMS.

"ANY OFFER OF MORE THAN ONE QUANTITY FOR EACH ITEM OR ANY OFFER FOR A QUANTITY AT MORE THAN ONE PRICE, EXCEPT AS PERMITTED ABOVE WILL RENDER THE OFFER NON-RESPONSIVE." A PRINTED PROVISION IN THE "INFORMATION TO BIDDERS" STATED:

"BLOCK BIDS - BIDDERS ARE REMINDED DPSC FORMS 369-1 AND 369-2 CONTAIN SUFFICIENT BLANK SPACES FOR BIDDERS TO CLARIFY WHAT TOTAL QUANTITY THEY ARE OFFERING TO ALL DESTINATIONS WITHIN EACH PRICE BLOCK. TO AVOID ANY POSSIBLE MISINTERPRETATION, BIDDERS ARE CAUTIONED TO STATE THE EXACT INTENT OF THEIR BIDS. FOR THE PURPOSE OF EVALUATION AND AWARD THE QUANTITIES AND PRICES SUBMITTED BY THE BIDDER, WHETHER THE BIDS ARE ON AN FOB ORIGIN OR DESTINATION BASIS, WILL BE EVALUATED IN ORDER TO SECURE FOR THE GOVERNMENT THE LOWEST OVERALL COST. ANY BIDDER INTENDING TO LIMIT THE QUANTITY THE GOVERNMENT MAY ACCEPT AT A SPECIFIC QUOTED PRICE MUST AFFIRMATIVELY SO STATE. FAILURE OF A BIDDER TO LIMIT THE QUANTITY AT ANY STATED PRICE WILL RESULT IN THE GOVERNMENT ACCEPTING ANY OR ALL OF THE QUANTITY OFFERED AT THE LOWEST QUOTED PRICES."

CLAUSE 172.4 OF THE INVITATION PROVIDED:

"MULTIPLE PRICE AWARDS (BLOCK OFFERS) (DPSC 1969 MAY) (APPLICABLE TO OFFER B ONLY)

"FOR THE PURPOSE OF EVALUATION AND AWARD, QUANTITIES, AND PRICES SUBMITTED BY THE OFFEROR, WHETHER THE SOLICITATIONS ARE ON AN F.O.B. ORIGIN OR F.O.B. DESTINATION BASIS, WILL BE EVALUATED IN ORDER TO SECURE FOR THE GOVERNMENT THE LOWEST OVERALL COST. CONSEQUENTLY, IT IS IMPORTANT THAT OFFERORS CLEARLY STATE WHAT TOTAL QUANTITY THEY ARE OFFERING TO EACH OR ALL CONSIGNEES DESTINATIONS (FIXED OR TENTATIVE) WITH EACH PRICE BLOCK. *** "

THE INVITATION PROVIDED ONE SHEET FOR BIDDING "OFFER A" AND ANOTHER FOR BIDDING "OFFER B." THE TOP OF EACH SHEET STATED:

"FAILURE TO INDICATE AN OVERALL MINIMUM QUANTITY WILL BE DEEMED AN OFFER TO ACCEPT AN AWARD FOR THE TOTAL QUANTITY BID UPON OR ANY PART THEREOF." THE BOTTOM OF THE "OFFER B" BID SHEET STATED:

"FAILURE TO INDICATE SEPARATE MINIMUM AND MAXIMUM QUANTITIES WILL BE DEEMED AN OFFER TO ACCEPT AN AWARD FOR THE TOTAL OF THE QUANTITIES BID UPON FOR EACH ITEM OR DESTINATION OR ANY PART THEREOF."

THE "SOLICITATION INSTRUCTIONS AND CONDITIONS" PROVIDED IN PERTINENT PART:

"AWARD OF CONTRACT. (A) THE CONTRACT WILL BE AWARDED TO THAT RESPONSIBLE OFFEROR WHOSE OFFER CONFORMING TO THE SOLICITATION WILL BE MOST ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT, PRICE AND OTHER FACTORS CONSIDERED.

"(C) THE GOVERNMENT MAY ACCEPT ANY ITEM OR GROUP OF ITEMS OF ANY OFFER, UNLESS THE OFFEROR QUALIFIES HIS OFFER BY SPECIFIC LIMITATIONS. UNLESS OTHERWISE PROVIDED IN THE SCHEDULE, OFFERS MAY BE SUBMITTED FOR ANY QUANTITIES LESS THAN THOSE SPECIFIED; AND THE GOVERNMENT RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MAKE AN AWARD ON ANY ITEM FOR A QUANTITY LESS THAN THE QUANTITY OFFERED AT THE UNIT PRICES OFFERED UNLESS THE OFFEROR SPECIFIES OTHERWISE IN HIS OFFER."

THE -1386 INVITATION PACKAGE IS THE SAME AS THE -1391 INVITATION PACKAGE, EXCEPT THAT IN THE FORMER THE CLAUSE DIRECTED TO BY AN ARROW IN THE "INFORMATION TO BIDDERS" AND THE "TEST PROCUREMENT" STATEMENT USE THE WORD "BASES" INSTEAD OF "BASIS" AND THE LATTER STATEMENT REFERS TO PAGE 6 OF THE INVITATION INSTEAD OF PAGE 7, BUT CONTAINS THE SAME INFORMATION ON PAGE 6 AS DOES -1391 ON PAGE 7 WITH THE EXCEPTION THAT THE "QUANTITY LIMITATION PROHIBITION" IS PRECEDED BY THE NUMBER "172.5" AND IS FOLLOWED BY "(DPSC 1969 MAY)." ALSO, THE PARENTHETICAL STATEMENT THAT "FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS CLAUSE, EACH DESTINATION IS AN ITEM," WHICH APPEARS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FIRST PARAGRAPH OF THE "QUANTITY LIMITATION PROHIBITION" IN INVITATION -1391, APPEARS AT THE END OF THAT PARAGRAPH IN -1386. FURTHER, INSTEAD OF SETTING OUT "OFFER A" AND "OFFER B" ON SEPARATE BIDDING SHEETS AS WAS DONE IN -1391, THOSE OFFERS IN -1386 ARE SET OUT ON A SINGLE SHEET WHICH IS THE SAME AS THE "OFFER B" BID SHEET IN 1391.

AS INDICATED ABOVE, THE TWO PROTESTANTS UNDER INVITATION -1391, SOLICITING BIDS FOR 19,723,000 LINEAR YARDS (LY) OF SATEEN, ARE SADDLER TEXTILES, INC., AND PRESTEX INC. ON OFFER "A," SADDLER BID TO SUPPLY 2,036,666 LY AS FOLLOWS:

1,150,000 LY $0.5568 PER LY F.O.B. RICHMOND, 500,000 LY MINIMUM;

886,666 LY $0.5989 PER LY F.O.B. MEMPHIS, 400,000 LY MINIMUM. ON OFFER "B," SADDLER BID TO FURNISH 2,036,666 LY F.O.B. RICHMOND AS FOLLOWS:

650,000 LY $0.5543, 500,000 LY MINIMUM;

ADDITIONAL 500,000 LY $0.5593, 300,000 LY MINIMUM;

OR 1,150,000 LY $0.5563, 1,150,000 LY MINIMUM;

ADDITIONAL 443,333 LY $0.5924, 200,000 LY MINIMUM;

OR 1,593,333 LY $0.5660, 1,593,000 LY MINIMUM;

ADDITIONAL 443,333 LY $0.6097;

OR 2,036,666 LY $0.5754, 2,000,000 LY MINIMUM. A REDUCTION OF $0.0021 PER LY WAS OFFERED ON THE FOREGOING OFFER "B" PRICES FOR DELIVERY F.O.B. MEMPHIS INSTEAD OF RICHMOND.

SADDLER FURNISHED INFORMATION WITH ITS BID SHOWING THAT OF THE 2,036,666 LY OFFERED, 1,000,000 LY WOULD BE PRODUCED BY ONE MANUFACTURER, 866,666 LY BY A SECOND MANUFACTURER, AND THE REMAINING 150,000 LY WAS IN INVENTORY AT THE SECOND PLANT.

AN AWARD WAS MADE TO SADDLER ON THE BASIS OF AN EVALUATION OF 2,036,666 LY COMPUTED AS FOLLOWS:

650,000 LY $0.5522 PER LY F.O.B. MEMPHIS (OFFER "B")

1,086,666 LY $0.5568 PER LY F.O.B. RICHMOND (OFFER "A")

300,000 LY $0.5572 PER LY F.O.B. MEMPHIS (OFFER "B")

ON OFFER "A," PRESTEX INC. BID TO SUPPLY 5,000,000 LY UNDER EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ALTERNATIVES:

$0.5920 PER LY F.O.B. ORIGIN OR

$0.5964 PER LY F.O.B. MEMPHIS OR

$0.5985 PER LY F.O.B. RICHMOND ON OFFER "B," PRESTEX BID TO SUPPLY THE 5,000,000 LY AS FOLLOWS:

1,750,000 LY $0.5669 PER LY F.O.B. ORIGIN, 1,000,000 LY MINIMUM;

ADDITIONAL 1,225,000 LY $0.5917 PER LY F.O.B. ORIGIN, 50 PERCENT MINIMUM;

ADDITIONAL 1,225,000 LY $0.6023 PER LY F.O.B. ORIGIN, ALL OR ANY PART;

ADDITIONAL 800,000 LY $0.6376 PER LY F.O.B. ORIGIN, 50 PERCENT MINIMUM;

ADD $0.0048 PER LY F.O.B. MEMPHIS OR $0.0065 PER LY F.O.B. RICHMOND.

PRESTEX FURNISHED INFORMATION WITH ITS BID LISTING THE MANUFACTURERS WHO WOULD PRODUCE THE 5,000,000 YARDS OF MATERIAL OFFERED. THE 5,000,000 YARDS WERE BROKEN DOWN INTO FOUR QUANTITIES OF 1,750,000, 1,225,000, 1,225,000 AND 800,000 YARDS. A DIFFERENT MANUFACTURER WAS NAMED FOR EACH QUANTITY, EXCEPT THAT ONE MANUFACTURER WAS THE PRODUCER OF BOTH THE 1,225,000 LOTS.

AN AWARD WAS MADE TO PRESTEX FOR 5,000,000 YARDS AS FOLLOWS:

1,750,000 LY $0.5669 PER LY F.O.B. ORIGIN (OFFER "B")

1,225,000 LY $0.5917 PER LY F.O.B. ORIGIN (OFFER "B")

2,025,000 LY $0.5964 PER LY F.O.B. MEMPHIS (OFFER "A")

BESIDES SADDLER AND PRESTEX, THERE WERE FOUR OTHER BIDDERS ON INVITATION -1391. EACH OF THESE OTHER BIDDERS RECEIVED AWARDS BASED ON EITHER OFFER "A" OR OFFER "B," BUT NOT ON A COMBINATION OF BOTH AS IN THE CASE OF SADDLER AND PRESTEX.

INVITATION -1386 SOLICITED BIDS FOR 1,328,000 LY OF DUCK CLOTH. PUTNAM MILLS CORPORATION, THE PROTESTANT UNDER THE INVITATION, OFFERED THAT QUANTITY. ON OFFER "A" IT BID TO SUPPLY THAT TOTAL QUANTITY AT $0.901732 PER LY F.O.B. RICHMOND OR MEMPHIS. ON OFFER "B," IT OFFERED THAT QUANTITY DELIVERED TO EITHER DESTINATION AT $0.73 PER LY FOR 242,000 LY AND AT $0.94 PER LY FOR 1,086,000 LY.

WITH ITS BID PUTNAM FURNISHED INFORMATION SHOWING THAT OF THE TOTAL 1,328,000 LY OFFERED, IT HAD 242,000 LY IN INVENTORY AT ONE PLACE AND THAT 1,086,000 LY WOULD BE MANUFACTURED AT A SECOND PLANT.

AN AWARD WAS MADE TO PUTNAM FOR 1,185,000 LY AS FOLLOWS:

242,000 LY $0.73 PER LY F.O.B. MEMPHIS (OFFER "B")

885,000 LY$0.901732 PER LY F.O.B. RICHMOND (OFFER "A")

58,000 LY " $0.94 PER LY F.O.B. MEMPHIS (OFFER "B") A BID FROM ANOTHER BIDDER OF $0.83 PER LY F.O.B. MEMPHIS ON AN OFFER "B" BASIS WAS ACCEPTED FOR THE BALANCE OF THE 1,328,000 LY OR 143,000 LY.

IT IS APPARENT FROM THE FOREGOING THAT ALTHOUGH EACH OF THE PROTESTANTS WAS OFFERING EQUAL QUANTITIES UNDER BOTH OFFER "A" AND OFFER "B," THEY WERE IN FACT OFFERING THE IDENTICAL GOODS UNDER BOTH OFFERS. IT IS OBSERVED TOO THAT THE AWARD BASIS FOR EACH PROTESTANT RESULTS IN AN AVERAGE PRICE WHICH IS LESS THAN THE AVERAGE PRICE THAT WOULD RESULT IF THE AWARD FOR THE SAME QUANTITY WOULD BE MADE TO THE PROTESTANT ON AN "A" BASIS ALONE OR A "B" BASIS ALONE.

THE PROTESTS OF SADDLER, PRESTEX AND PUTNAM ARE THE SAME. EACH CONTENDS THAT UNDER THE TERMS OF THE INVITATION AN AWARD COULD HAVE BEEN MADE TO IT ON EITHER AN OFFER "A" OR AN OFFER "B" BASIS, BUT NOT ON A COMBINATION OF BOTH. EACH THEREFORE REQUESTS THAT THE AWARD MADE TO IT BE REVISED TO PROVIDE FOR PAYMENT ON EITHER THE "A" BASIS ALONE OR THE "B" BASIS ALONE. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER, ON THE OTHER HAND, ALTHOUGH HE RECOGNIZES THAT THE PROTESTANTS AVERAGED THEIR PRICES ON OFFER "B" TO ARRIVE AT THE PRICES FOR OFFER "A," CONTENDS THAT THE TERMS OF THE INVITATION RESERVED TO THE GOVERNMENT THE RIGHT TO MAKE AN AWARD TO A BIDDER ON AN "A" AND "B" COMBINATION BASIS UNLESS THE BIDDER RESTRICTED THE GOVERNMENT FROM DOING SO AND THAT THE BIDDERS DID NOT STATE ANY RESTRICTIONS IN THAT REGARD.

THE INTERPRETATION USUALLY ACCORDED INVITATION GENERAL PROVISIONS CONCERNING BID ACCEPTANCE IS NOT FOLLOWED WHEN MORE SPECIFIC PROVISIONS INDICATE THAT THE GENERAL PROVISIONS ARE EMPLOYED IN A LIMITED SENSE. SEE B-145859, MAY 22, 1961.

IN VIEW OF THE TYPEWRITTEN PROVISIONS REFERENCED ABOVE ADVISING BIDDERS IN SEVERAL PLACES THAT THE INVITATIONS INVOLVED WERE TEST PROCUREMENTS INVITING OFFERS ON "TWO" BASES, OFFER "A" AND OFFER "B," IT IS NOT REASONABLE TO CONSTRUE THE STATEMENTS IN THE INVITATIONS THAT THE GOVERNMENT MAY ACCEPT ANY ITEM, UNLESS THE BIDDER QUALIFIES THE OFFER, AND THE ADVICE TO BIDDERS OF THE RESTRICTIONS THAT CAN BE STATED ON QUANTITIES OFFERED, AS GIVING THE GOVERNMENT THE RIGHT TO MAKE AWARDS ON A COMBINATION OF TWO BASES. A COMBINATION OF AN OFFER "A" AND AN OFFER "B" BID IS OBVIOUSLY A THIRD BASIS AND, AS INDICATED, THE INVITATIONS INVITED BIDS ON "TWO" BASES ONLY. FURTHER, THE INFORMATION IN THE INVITATIONS AS TO THE TEST INDICATED THAT AN ALTERNATIVE TO BLOCK BIDDING WAS BEING INVESTIGATED WITH THE IDEA OF POSSIBLY ELIMINATING THE DELAYS AND COMPLEXITIES BROUGHT ABOUT BY BLOCK BIDDING. IN OTHER WORDS, THE INVITATIONS, IN SOLICITING BIDS ON THE OFFER "A" BASIS, HAD FOR THEIR PURPOSE A COMPARISON OF THE PRICES THAT WOULD BE RECEIVED ON THAT SIMPLE BIDDING METHOD WITH THE PRICES THAT WOULD BE RECEIVED ON THE COMPLEX BLOCK BIDDING METHOD. THE INTRODUCTION HERE OF A THIRD METHOD OF EVALUATION WHICH WOULD COMBINE THE SIMPLE BIDDING METHOD OF OFFER "A" WITH THE COMPLEX BLOCK BIDDING METHOD OF OFFER "B" WAS INCONSISTENT WITH THE ANNOUNCED INTENTION OF TESTING A SIMPLIFIED BIDDING METHOD OTHER THAN BLOCK BIDDING. IN OTHER WORDS, THE RESULT WOULD BE THE ADDITION OF A MORE COMPLICATED EVALUATION METHOD THAN THE BLOCK BIDDING EVALUATION METHOD SOUGHT TO BE ELIMINATED. IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES, WE REGARD THE STATEMENT IN THE "LIMITING OF BLOCK BIDDING (TEST)" PROVISIONS THAT "THE GOVERNMENT RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MAKE AWARDS ON SUCH BASIS AS THE CONTRACTING OFFICER DETERMINES TO BE MOST ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT, PRICE AND OTHER FACTORS CONSIDERED" AS REFERRING TO EITHER THE "OFFER A" OR "OFFER B" BASIS MENTIONED IN THE OPENING SENTENCE OF THIS PARAGRAPH AND NOT TO A COMBINATION OF BOTH OFFERS "A" AND "B." ALSO, THE STATEMENTS IN THE INVITATIONS THAT THE GOVERNMENT MAY ACCEPT ANY ITEM UNLESS QUALIFIED BY THE BIDDER, AND ADVISING BIDDERS AS TO THE STIPULATIONS THEY COULD MAKE LIMITING THE QUANTITIES THE GOVERNMENT COULD ACCEPT, DID NOT, IN OUR OPINION, INDICATE TO BIDDERS THAT IF THEY DID NOT AFFIRMATIVELY PRECLUDE AN AWARD BASED ON A COMBINATION OF "A" AND "B" PRICES, SUCH AN AWARD COULD BE ACCOMPLISHED UNDER THE INVITATIONS. RATHER, WE VIEW SUCH STATEMENTS AS NOTICES TO BIDDERS OF THE LIMITATIONS RELATIVE TO THE "A" OR "B" BASIS.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, THE AWARDS MADE TO EACH OF THE PROTESTANTS SHOULD BE REVISED TO REFLECT EITHER ALL OFFER "A" PRICES OR ALL OFFER "B" PRICES, WHICHEVER PRODUCE THE LOWEST COST TO THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE QUANTITIES AWARDED.

SADDLER HAS INDICATED THAT UNTIL IT BEGINS TO BE PAID ON THE BASIS OF THE REVISED AWARD PRICES IT WILL BILL THE CONTRACTING OFFICE INTEREST ON THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE ORIGINAL AWARD PRICE AND THE REVISED AWARD PRICE. HOWEVER, PAYMENT OF INTEREST UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCE IS NOT AUTHORIZED. CF. 45 COMP. GEN. 169 (1965).