B-176912, FEB 7, 1973

B-176912: Feb 7, 1973

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IS OF THE OPINION THAT A BIDDER'S WORKSHEET IS USED IN PREPARING THE BID FOR ACCEPTANCE PRIOR TO THE OPENING OF BIDS AS OPPOSED AS TO THE USE OF A WORKSHEET TO CLARIFY AN AMBIGUOUS PRICE AFTER THE OPENING OF THE BIDS. ROBINSON: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DSAH-G OF SEPTEMBER 21. 125 AND 129 WERE INCONSISTENT WITH THE QUANTITIES OFFERED. 125 AND 129 WERE IN ERROR. SINCE CORRECTION OF THE BID FOR ITEMS 116 AND 117 WOULD HAVE DISPLACED AN OTHERWISE HIGHER BIDDER AND THE INTENDED BID WAS NOT ASCERTAINABLE FROM THE INVITATION AND THE BID ITSELF. CORRECTION WAS NOT PERMITTED ON THOSE TWO ITEMS. PUGET SOUND WAS THE HIGH BIDDER ON EITHER THE UNIT OR EXTENDED PRICE BASIS. OUR DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THE BID ON THOSE TWO ITEMS SHOULD BE CORRECTED.

B-176912, FEB 7, 1973

PROCUREMENT PROCEDURES - MISTAKE IN BID - USE OF WORKSHEETS DECISION AS TO WHETHER CORRECTION OF MISTAKES IN THE BID OF PUGET SOUND SALVAGE AND EQUIPMENT CO. SHOULD BE ALLOWED UNDER A SALES INVITATION. THE COMP. GEN. IS OF THE OPINION THAT A BIDDER'S WORKSHEET IS USED IN PREPARING THE BID FOR ACCEPTANCE PRIOR TO THE OPENING OF BIDS AS OPPOSED AS TO THE USE OF A WORKSHEET TO CLARIFY AN AMBIGUOUS PRICE AFTER THE OPENING OF THE BIDS. ACCORDINGLY, PUGET'S EXTENDED PRICE ON THE ITEMS SHOULD BE CORRECTED TO REFLECT PUGET'S INTENDED PRICE AS INDICATED IN THE WORKSHEET.

TO LT. GEN WALLACE H. ROBINSON:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DSAH-G OF SEPTEMBER 21, 1972, AND PRIOR CORRESPONDENCE, FROM THE ASSISTANT COUNSEL, HEADQUARTERS, CAMERON STATION, REQUESTING A DECISION WHETHER MISTAKES IN THE BID OF PUGET SOUND SALVAGE AND EQUIPMENT CO. ON ITEMS 125 AND 129 IN SALES INVITATION 41-2167 SHOULD BE CORRECTED.

PUGET SOUND BID ON 85 OF THE 169 ITEMS IN THE INVITATION. THE UNIT AND TOTAL PRICES PUGET SOUND BID ON ITEMS 116, 117, 125 AND 129 WERE INCONSISTENT WITH THE QUANTITIES OFFERED. IN A TELEPHONE CALL MADE BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER TO PUGET SOUND TO VERIFY THE BID, A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE COMPANY ADVISED THAT THE UNIT PRICE OF ITEM 116 AND THE TOTAL PRICES OF ITEMS 117, 125 AND 129 WERE IN ERROR. SUBSEQUENTLY, THE BIDDER FURNISHED A COPY OF THE SALES INVITATION WHICH IT STATED IT USED AS A WORKSHEET FOR THE BID. SINCE CORRECTION OF THE BID FOR ITEMS 116 AND 117 WOULD HAVE DISPLACED AN OTHERWISE HIGHER BIDDER AND THE INTENDED BID WAS NOT ASCERTAINABLE FROM THE INVITATION AND THE BID ITSELF, CORRECTION WAS NOT PERMITTED ON THOSE TWO ITEMS. HOWEVER, ON ITEMS 125 AND 129, PUGET SOUND WAS THE HIGH BIDDER ON EITHER THE UNIT OR EXTENDED PRICE BASIS. OUR DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THE BID ON THOSE TWO ITEMS SHOULD BE CORRECTED. THE ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT IS SKEPTICAL THAT IT SHOULD BE AUTHORIZED. IT STATES, "BECAUSE OF THE READY AVAILABILITY OF EXTRA COPIES OF INVITATIONS FOR BIDS, 'WORK PAPERS' CAN BE EASILY CREATED AFTER BID OPENING AND BIDDERS HAVE FULL KNOWLEDGE OF ALL OTHER BIDS."

THE BIDDER HAS REPRESENTED THAT THE WORKSHEET IT SUBMITTED IS THE ONE THAT WAS USED TO PREPARE THE BID ON THE SALE. AN EXAMINATION OF THE WORKSHEET INDICATES THAT IT NOT ONLY COVERS THE IMMEDIATE ITEMS, BUT ALSO CONTAINS INFORMATION, PRICING, OVERWRITING AND MYRIAD OTHER NOTATIONS, CALCULATIONS, ETC., WITH RESPECT TO THE NUMEROUS OTHER ITEMS BID UPON. IS DIFFICULT TO CONCEIVE THAT A BIDDER WOULD HAVE GONE TO SUCH EXTENSIVE EFFORT IN THE PREPARATION OF A WORKSHEET IF IT WAS BEING PREPARED AFTER THE OPENING OF BIDS TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OTHER BIDS RECEIVED. IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES, THE WORKSHEET DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE ANYTHING OTHER THAN THE ONE THAT WAS USED IN PREPARING THE BID.

THE UNIT AND EXTENDED PRICES BID BY PUGET SOUND ON ITEM 125, CONSISTING OF 30 UNITS, WERE $18.26 AND $495.30 RESPECTIVELY. FROM AN EXAMINATION OF THE INFORMATION ON THE WORKSHEET WITH RESPECT TO THAT ITEM, IT APPEARS THAT PUGET SOUND ORIGINALLY INTENDED TO BID $16.53 FOR THE ITEM AND EXTENDED THE PRICE TO $495.30 AND THEN SUBSEQUENTLY DECIDED TO RAISE THE UNIT PRICE TO $18.26 FOR THE ITEM AND WROTE THAT OVER $16.53 BUT NEGLECTED TO EXTEND THAT FIGURE WITH THE RESULT THAT WHEN IT WROTE THE BID ON THE SHEET PROVIDED FOR THAT PURPOSE IT COPIED THE REVISED UNIT PRICE AND THE ORIGINAL EXTENDED PRICE.

THE UNIT AND EXTENDED PRICES BID BY PUGET SOUND ON ITEM 129, CONSISTING OF 4 UNITS, WERE $21.76 AND $107.04, RESPECTIVELY. FROM AN EXAMINATION OF THE INFORMATION ON THE WORKSHEET WITH RESPECT TO THAT ITEM, IT APPEARS THAT THE ERROR OCCURRED IN THE SAME WAY ON THIS ITEM AS IT DID ON ITEM 125, EXCEPT THAT ON THIS ITEM IT REDUCED THE ORIGINALLY INTENDED PRICE OF $26.76 TO $21.76 WITHOUT ADJUSTING THE EXTENDED PRICE ORIGINALLY CALCULATED FOR THE ITEM. AS IN THE FORMER ITEM, WHEN IT WROTE THE PRICES ON THE BID SHEET, IT COPIED THE REVISED UNIT PRICE AND THE ORIGINAL EXTENDED PRICE.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, IT IS OUR OPINION THAT THE EXTENDED PRICE OF PUGET SOUND ON ITEMS 125 AND 129 SHOULD BE CORRECTED TO CONFORM TO THE UNIT PRICES BID ON THOSE ITEMS.