B-173722, SEP 16, 1971

B-173722: Sep 16, 1971

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IT IS NOTED FROM THE TABULATION OF BIDS THAT THERE IS A SUBSTANTIAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE BIDS SUBMITTED BY MASTER AND THOSE SUBMITTED BY THE NEXT LOW BIDDER ON EACH OF THE THREE ITEMS. AGREES THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER SHOULD HAVE BEEN AWARE OF THE PROBABILITY OF ERROR IN MASTER'S BID AND. THE BID SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED WITHOUT VERIFICATION. KUNZIG: REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED JULY 27. TO HAVE BEEN MADE IN ITS BID UPON WHICH CONTRACT NO. GS-08S-27878 IS BASED. WHICHEVER IS LATER. THE BID OF MASTER WAS ACCEPTED AS TO ITEMS 1. MASTER ADVISED THE CONTRACTING OFFICE THAT THE CORPORATION DID NOT HAVE THE FACILITIES FOR MANUFACTURING THE CORE FOR THE PAINT ROLLER COVER NOR FOR CEMENTING THE LAMBSWOOL TO THE CORE.

B-173722, SEP 16, 1971

CONTRACT - CANCELLATION - MISTAKE IN BID DECISION ALLOWING CANCELLATION, WITHOUT LIABILITY, OF CERTAIN ITEMS ON A CONTRACT AWARDED TO MASTER INDUSTRIES BY THE FEDERAL SUPPLY SERVICE, DENVER, COLORADO. IT IS NOTED FROM THE TABULATION OF BIDS THAT THERE IS A SUBSTANTIAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE BIDS SUBMITTED BY MASTER AND THOSE SUBMITTED BY THE NEXT LOW BIDDER ON EACH OF THE THREE ITEMS, RANGING FROM ABOUT 71 PERCENT FOR ITEM 1 DOWN TO APPROXIMATELY 48 PERCENT FOR ITEM 3. IN THESE CIRCUMSTANCES, THE COMP. GEN. AGREES THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER SHOULD HAVE BEEN AWARE OF THE PROBABILITY OF ERROR IN MASTER'S BID AND, CONSEQUENTLY, THE BID SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED WITHOUT VERIFICATION.

TO MR. ROBERT L. KUNZIG:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED JULY 27, 1971, WITH ENCLOSURES, FROM YOUR GENERAL COUNSEL, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE ACTION TO BE TAKEN CONCERNING AN ERROR ALLEGED BY MASTER INDUSTRIES (NOW KNOWN AS MASTER, INC.), ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA, TO HAVE BEEN MADE IN ITS BID UPON WHICH CONTRACT NO. GS-08S-27878 IS BASED.

THE FEDERAL SUPPLY SERVICE, GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, DENVER, COLORADO, BY SOLICITATION NO. 21112 REQUESTED BIDS FOR FURNISHING 16 ITEMS OF PAINT ROLLERS, COVERS, AND ACCESSORIES AS REQUIRED BY THE GSA DENVER STORES DEPOT DURING THE PERIOD FROM JULY 14, 1970, OR DATE OF AWARD, WHICHEVER IS LATER, TO JULY 13, 1971. IN RESPONSE, MASTER INDUSTRIES SUBMITTED A BID DATED JUNE 17, 1970, OFFERING TO FURNISH, AMONG OTHER ITEMS, THE PAINT ROLLER COVERS DESCRIBED UNDER ITEMS 1, 2, AND 3 AT PRICES OF $0.45, $0.52, AND $0.59 EACH, RESPECTIVELY. THE BID OF MASTER WAS ACCEPTED AS TO ITEMS 1, 2, 3, AND OTHER ITEMS ON AUGUST 10, 1970.

BY LETTER DATED MAY 13, 1971, MASTER ADVISED THE CONTRACTING OFFICE THAT THE CORPORATION DID NOT HAVE THE FACILITIES FOR MANUFACTURING THE CORE FOR THE PAINT ROLLER COVER NOR FOR CEMENTING THE LAMBSWOOL TO THE CORE. MASTER REQUESTED THAT ITEMS 1, 2 AND 3 OF THE CONTRACT BE CANCELED WITHOUT LIABILITY TO THE CORPORATION. IN LETTERS DATED JUNE 11, AND 19, 1971, MASTER STATED THAT ITS OFFER ON ITEMS 1, 2 AND 3 WAS ESTIMATED AND ASSUMED WHAT WAS REQUIRED WAS A REPLACEMENT OR LAMBSWOOL PAD WHICH IS PLACED ON THE PAINT ROLLER. IN SUPPORT OF ITS ALLEGATION OF ERROR, THE CORPORATION SUBMITTED ITS PRICE LIST FOR GENUINE LAMBSWOOL REFILL PADS.

IT IS REPORTED THAT THE FOLLOWING FOUR BIDS ON ITEMS 1, 2 AND 3 WERE RECEIVED:

BIDDER ITEM 1 ITEM 2 ITEM 3

MASTER INDUSTRIES $0.45 $0.52 $0.59

ACE MANUFACTURING CO. .77 .79 .81

WOOSTER BRUSH CO. .80 .79 .80

ESSEX GRAHAM CO. .97 1.03 1.09

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

ACCORDINGLY, ITEMS 1, 2 AND 3 OF CONTRACT NO. GS-08S-27878 MAY BE CANCELED WITHOUT LIABILITY TO MASTER.

THE ENCLOSURES SUBMITTED WITH YOUR GENERAL COUNSEL'S LETTER OF JULY 27, 1971, ARE RETURNED AS REQUESTED.