B-173890, NOV 3, 1971

B-173890: Nov 3, 1971

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CONTRACT REFORMATION DENIED - MISTAKE IN BID DENIAL OF REQUEST BY THE GRAY PRINTING COMPANY FOR AN INCREASE IN PRICE ON A GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE PURCHASE ORDER BECAUSE OF AN ERROR IN THE BID UPON WHICH THE PURCHASE ORDER IS BASED. GAO WILL GRANT RELIEF ONLY IF THE MISTAKE WAS MUTUAL OR IF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER WAS ON ACTUAL OR CONSTRUCTIVE NOTICE OF THE ERROR PRIOR TO AWARD. THERE IS NOTHING IN THIS RECORD WHICH WOULD PROVIDE A BASIS FOR GRANTING THE REQUESTED RELIEF. TO THE GRAY PRINTING COMPANY: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 4. REQUESTING AN INCREASE IN PRICE IN THE PURCHASE ORDER ON GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE (GPO) JACKET NO. 426-963 BECAUSE OF AN ERROR IN THE BID UPON WHICH THE PURCHASE ORDER IS BASED.

B-173890, NOV 3, 1971

CONTRACT REFORMATION DENIED - MISTAKE IN BID DENIAL OF REQUEST BY THE GRAY PRINTING COMPANY FOR AN INCREASE IN PRICE ON A GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE PURCHASE ORDER BECAUSE OF AN ERROR IN THE BID UPON WHICH THE PURCHASE ORDER IS BASED. IN A CASE WHERE A MISTAKE HAS BEEN ALLEGED AFTER AWARD OF THE CONTRACT, GAO WILL GRANT RELIEF ONLY IF THE MISTAKE WAS MUTUAL OR IF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER WAS ON ACTUAL OR CONSTRUCTIVE NOTICE OF THE ERROR PRIOR TO AWARD. THERE IS NOTHING IN THIS RECORD WHICH WOULD PROVIDE A BASIS FOR GRANTING THE REQUESTED RELIEF.

TO THE GRAY PRINTING COMPANY:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 4, 1971, AND PRIOR CORRESPONDENCE, REQUESTING AN INCREASE IN PRICE IN THE PURCHASE ORDER ON GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE (GPO) JACKET NO. 426-963 BECAUSE OF AN ERROR IN THE BID UPON WHICH THE PURCHASE ORDER IS BASED.

JACKET NO. 426-963 REQUESTED BIDS FOR THE PRINTING AND BINDING OF 1,000,000 COPIES OF A 32-PAGE PAMPHLET FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, EDUCATION AND WELFARE. NINE BIDS WERE OPENED ON JULY 8, 1971. THE LOW BID FROM YOUR COMPANY WAS $11,900. THE REMAINING BIDS RANGED FROM $13,126 TO $16,684. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER DETERMINED THAT YOU WERE THE LOW RESPONSIVE, RESPONSIBLE BIDDER, AND AWARD WAS MADE TO YOU ON JULY 12, 1971.

BY LETTERS TO GPO DATED JULY 20 AND 26, 1971, YOU ALLEGED THAT AN ERROR OCCURRED IN THE BID BECAUSE YOU UNDERESTIMATED THE AMOUNT OF PAPER REQUIRED TO PRINT THE PAMPHLETS. THE ERROR WAS ALLEGED TO AMOUNT TO $3,555. HOWEVER, YOU LIMITED THE REQUEST FOR RELIEF TO $1,000 IN ORDER TO MINIMIZE YOUR LOSS AND STILL MAINTAIN YOUR PRICE AS THE LOWEST RECEIVED.

YOUR REQUEST FOR RELIEF WAS DISALLOWED BY GPO ON THE BASIS THAT IT HAD NO AUTHORITY TO CORRECT A MISTAKE IN BID WHICH HAD NOT BEEN DISCLOSED PRIOR TO AWARD.

THE PRIMARY QUESTION FOR CONSIDERATION IS NOT WHETHER AN ERROR WAS MADE IN YOUR BID, BUT WHETHER A VALID AND BINDING CONTRACT WAS CONSUMMATED BY ITS ACCEPTANCE. IN CASES WHERE A MISTAKE HAS BEEN ALLEGED AFTER AWARD OF THE CONTRACT, OUR OFFICE WILL GRANT RELIEF ONLY IF THE MISTAKE WAS MUTUAL OR THE CONTRACTING OFFICER WAS ON ACTUAL OR CONSTRUCTIVE NOTICE OF ERROR PRIOR TO AWARD. B-168285, DECEMBER 9, 1969. IN THIS REGARD, GPO HAS REPORTED THAT IT DID NOT PREPARE AN ESTIMATE FOR THE JOB AND CONSEQUENTLY, EXCEPT FOR THE BIDS RECEIVED, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER HAD NO BASIS UPON WHICH TO DETERMINE A POTENTIAL ERROR. WITH RESPECT TO THE BIDS RECEIVED, IT IS REPORTED THAT THE $1,226 DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE LOW BID AND THE NEXT LOW BID WAS NOT UNUSUAL FOR JOBS LIKE THE IMMEDIATE ONE. THEREFORE, THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE BID WAS MADE IN GOOD FAITH, NO ERROR HAVING BEEN ALLEGED UNTIL AFTER AWARD.

THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE PREPARATION OF A BID IS UPON THE BIDDER. FRAZIER-DAVIS CONSTRUCTION COMPANY V UNITED STATES, 100 CT. CL. 120, 163 (1943). WHILE IT MAY BE THAT AN ERROR WAS MADE IN THE BID, SUCH ERROR WAS DUE SOLELY TO YOUR OWN OVERSIGHT OR NEGLIGENCE AND WAS IN NO WAY INDUCED OR CONTRIBUTED TO BY THE GOVERNMENT. ANY ERROR THAT WAS MADE IN THE BID WAS UNILATERIAL - NOT MUTUAL - AND THEREFORE DOES NOT ENTITLE YOU TO RELIEF. SEE EDWIN DOUGHERTY AND M. H. OGDEN V UNITED STATES, 102 CT. CL. 249 (1944).

ACCORDINGLY, NO LEGAL BASIS EXISTS FOR RELIEVING YOU FROM YOUR OBLIGATION TO PERFORM UNDER THE PURCHASE ORDER AT THE PRICE STIPULATED THEREIN.

THE ENCLOSURES YOU FORWARDED TO OUR OFFICE ARE RETURNED AS REQUESTED.