B-177368, MAR 23, 1973, 52 COMP GEN 604

B-177368: Mar 23, 1973

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BIDS - OMISSIONS - PRICES IN BID - DISCERNIBLE PATTERN EFFECT THE FAILURE OF THE LOW BIDDER TO INCLUDE A PRICE FOR THE QUANTITY INCREMENT OF 16 THRU 25 IN RESPONSE TO THE SECOND STEP OF A TWO-STEP FORMAL ADVERTISEMENT FOR OSCILLOSCOPES TO BE FURNISHED UNDER A 1-YEAR REQUIREMENTS CONTRACT WAS PROPERLY CORRECTED IN CONSONANCE WITH PARAGRAPH 2-406.2 OF THE ARMED SERVICES PROCUREMENT REGULATION SINCE THE UNIT PRICE OF $1. AN EXCEPTION TO THE GENERAL RULE THAT A NONRESPONSIVE BID MAY NOT BE CORRECTED IS PERMITTED WHERE THE CONSISTENCY OF THE PRICING PATTERN IS DISCERNIBLE AND ESTABLISHES BOTH THE EXISTENCE OF THE ERROR AND THE BID INTENDED - TO HOLD OTHERWISE WOULD CONVERT AN OBVIOUS CLERICAL ERROR OF OMISSION TO A MATTER OF NONRESPONSIVENESS.

B-177368, MAR 23, 1973, 52 COMP GEN 604

BIDS - OMISSIONS - PRICES IN BID - DISCERNIBLE PATTERN EFFECT THE FAILURE OF THE LOW BIDDER TO INCLUDE A PRICE FOR THE QUANTITY INCREMENT OF 16 THRU 25 IN RESPONSE TO THE SECOND STEP OF A TWO-STEP FORMAL ADVERTISEMENT FOR OSCILLOSCOPES TO BE FURNISHED UNDER A 1-YEAR REQUIREMENTS CONTRACT WAS PROPERLY CORRECTED IN CONSONANCE WITH PARAGRAPH 2-406.2 OF THE ARMED SERVICES PROCUREMENT REGULATION SINCE THE UNIT PRICE OF $1,491 OFFERED ON THE INITIAL ORDER QUANTITY AS WELL AS FOR THE FOLLOW ON QUANTITIES OF 1 THRU 5, 6 THRU 15, AND 26 THRU 35 ESTABLISHED A DEFINITE AND EASILY RECOGNIZABLE PATTERN OF PRICES WHICH CLEARLY INDICATED THE SINGLE UNIT PRICE APPLIED TO ALL BID INCREMENTS. AN EXCEPTION TO THE GENERAL RULE THAT A NONRESPONSIVE BID MAY NOT BE CORRECTED IS PERMITTED WHERE THE CONSISTENCY OF THE PRICING PATTERN IS DISCERNIBLE AND ESTABLISHES BOTH THE EXISTENCE OF THE ERROR AND THE BID INTENDED - TO HOLD OTHERWISE WOULD CONVERT AN OBVIOUS CLERICAL ERROR OF OMISSION TO A MATTER OF NONRESPONSIVENESS.

TO ARNOLD & PORTER, MARCH 23, 1973:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTERS OF NOVEMBER 2, NOVEMBER 7 AND DECEMBER 5, 1972, PROTESTING, ON BEHALF OF DUMONT OSCILLOSCOPE LABORATORIES, INC. (DUMONT), AGAINST ANY AWARD TO THE HEWLETT-PACKARD COMPANY UNDER INVITATION FOR BIDS (IFB) NO. F41608-73-B-0475, ISSUED SEPTEMBER 8, 1972, BY THE DIRECTORATE OF PROCUREMENT AND PRODUCTION, DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE, SAN ANTONIO AIR MATERIEL AREA, KELLY AIR FORCE BASE, TEXAS.

THE IFB WAS ISSUED BY THE AIR FORCE FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROCURING, UNDER A REQUIREMENTS CONTRACT, OSCILLOSCOPES (85 MEGAHERTZ) IN ACCORDANCE WITH PURCHASE DESCRIPTION MME-PP-6625-161A (9/15/71), AND WAS THE SECOND STAGE OF A TWO-STEP FORMAL ADVERTISEMENT UNDER ARMED SERVICES PROCUREMENT REGULATION (ASPR) 2-503.

THE IFB WAS FURNISHED TO THE THREE OFFERORS WHO QUALIFIED UNDER STEP I, AND IT PROVIDED FOR A 1-YEAR REQUIREMENTS CONTRACT WITH A 50 PERCENT LABOR SURPLUS SET-ASIDE. THE IFB CALLED FOR BIDS ON AN INITIAL ORDER QUANTITY OF 55 OSCILLOSCOPES, AND ON 4 FOLLOW-ON ORDER QUANTITIES OF 5, 10, 10 AND 10 OSCILLOSCOPES. UNDER SECTION E (SUPPLIES/SERVICES AND PRICES), BIDDERS WERE REQUIRED TO INSERT BID PRICES FOR THE INITIAL ORDER QUANTITY OF 55 OSCILLOSCOPES, AND FOR THE 4 FOLLOW-ON QUANTITIES, IN THE FOLLOWING MANNER:

QUANTITY UNIT UNIT PRICE AMOUNT

0001AA INITIAL ORDER QUANTITY 55 EA

0001AB FOLLOW ON QUANTITY PER

ORDER 1 THRU 5 6 THRU 15

16 THRU 25 26 THRU

35

THE FACE SHEET OF THE IFB (STANDARD FORM 33) CONTAINED THE STANDARD CLAUSE INDICATING THAT THE BIDDER OFFERED TO FURNISH ANY OR ALL ITEMS UPON WHICH PRICES ARE OFFERED, AT THE PRICE SET OPPOSITE EACH ITEM. ALSO, UNDER PARAGRAPH C-10(AWARD OF CONTRACT, STANDARD FORM 33A) OF THE IFB, THE BIDDER WAS NOTIFIED THAT THE CONTRACT WOULD BE AWARDED TO THAT RESPONSIBLE OFFEROR WHOSE OFFER CONFORMING TO THE SOLICITATION WOULD BE MOST ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT.

TO SUPPLEMENT THESE STANDARD CLAUSES, AND TO INDICATE TO THE BIDDERS THE IMPORTANCE OF OFFERING A PRICE FOR EACH ITEM, THE AIR FORCE ADMONISHED THE BIDDERS, IN PARAGRAPH C-39, AS FOLLOWS:

THIS SOLICITATION CONTEMPLATES AWARD OF A REQUIREMENTS CONTRACT. OFFERORS ARE CAUTIONED THAT A UNIT PRICE MUST BE OFFERED FOR THE INITIAL ORDER QUANTITY, WHEN A QUANTITY IS SHOWN, AND EACH INCREMENT OF THE FOLLOW -ON QUANTITY. OFFERORS FAILING TO SET FORTH A PRICE FOR THE INITIAL ORDER QUANTITY, IF APPLICABLE, AND EACH INCREMENT OF THE FOLLOW ON QUANTITY SHALL BE CONSIDERED NONRESPONSIVE AND REJECTED (OR IN THE CASE OF PROPOSALS; MAY BE REJECTED). IF MORE THAN ONE LINE ITEM IS BEING SOLICITED, THE OFFEROR MUST SET FORTH PRICES FOR THE INITIAL ORDER QUANTITY, IF APPLICABLE, AND EACH OF THE FOLLOW-ON INCREMENTS FOR EACH LINE ITEM ON WHICH AN OFFER IS BEING MADE. OFFERORS ARE FURTHER CAUTIONED TO READ THE SECTION HEREOF ENTITLED "EVALUATION OF OFFERS."

PARAGRAPH D-5(EVALUATION OF OFFERS) PROVIDES, IN PERTINENT PART:

OFFERS SHALL BE EVALUATED IN ACCORDANCE WITH PARAGRAPH C-10 HEREOF AND THE FOLLOWING: THE MOST ADVANTAGEOUS OFFER SHALL BE CONSIDERED TO BE THE LOWEST EVALUATED TOTAL PRICE. THE TERM "LOWEST EVALUATED TOTAL PRICE" MEANS THE LOWEST PRICES ADJUSTED BY DEDUCTION OF ANY ALLOWABLE DISCOUNTS, AND COMPUTED IN THE FOLLOWING MANNER:

(A) STEP 1. THE INITIAL ORDER QUANTITY SHALL BE MULTIPLIED BY THE OFFERED UNIT PRICE FOR THAT QUANTITY.

(B) STEP 2. THE TOTAL PRICE FOR FOLLOW-ON INCREMENTS WILL BE DEVELOPED BY MULTIPLYING THE QUANTITY REPRESENTED IN EACH INCREMENT (I.E., THE "QUANTITY REPRESENTED" IS DEFINED TO BE ONE PLUS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE HIGHEST QUANTITY AND THE LOWEST QUANTITY IN THE INCREMENT) OF THE FOLLOW-ON PORTION BY TWO AND THEN BY THE UNIT PRICE FOR THAT INCREMENT.

(C) STEP 3. THE PRODUCTS DERIVED IN STEP 1 SHALL BE ADDED TO THE PRODUCTS ARRIVED AT IN STEP 2.*** THIS SHALL BE THE EVALUATED TOTAL PRICE.

ON OCTOBER 31, 1972, THE DATE SPECIFIED, THE BIDS WERE OPENED. ALTHOUGH HEWLETT-PACKARD WAS APPARENTLY THE LOW BIDDER, WITH A UNIT PRICE OF $1,491 FOR THE INITIAL ORDER QUANTITY AND FOR THE FOLLOW-ON QUANTITIES OF 1 THRU 5, 6 THRU 15, AND 26 THRU 35, THE BID FAILED TO EITHER INCLUDE A PRICE FOR THE QUANTITY INCREMENT OF 16 THRU 25 OR EXPLAIN THE OMISSION OF SUCH PRICE. ON THE FOLLOWING DAY HEWLETT PACKARD DISPATCHED A LETTER TO THE AIR FORCE INDICATING THAT, PURSUANT TO ASPR 2-406.2, THE COMPANY CONSIDERED ITS FAILURE TO SUBMIT A PRICE FOR THE FOLLOW-ON QUANTITY OF 16 THRU 25 AN APPARENT CLERICAL MISTAKE, AND OFFERED WRITTEN VERTIFICATION THAT THE COMPANY'S UNIT PRICE OF $1,491 IS, AND WAS, INTENDED TO BE APPLICABLE TO ALL OF THE FOLLOW-ON QUANTITIES.

BY TELEGRAM DATED OCTOBER 31, 1972, DUMONT INDICATED TO THE AIR FORCE THAT IT CONSIDERED THE HEWLETT-PACKARD BID NONRESPONSIVE, AND THAT THE TELEGRAM IN QUESTION REPRESENTED A NOTIFICATION OF PROTEST SHOULD THE BID BE CONSIDERED FOR ACCEPTANCE. AS A CONSEQUENCE OF THIS TELEGRAM, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ISSUED A STATEMENT OF FACTS AND FINDINGS HOLDING THAT THE BID IN QUESTION ESTABLISHED A DEFINITE AND EASILY RECOGNIZABLE PATTERN OF PRICES WHICH CLEARLY INDICATED THAT HEWLETT PACKARD INTENDED $1,491 TO APPLY TO ALL BID INCREMENTS; THAT THE INTENDED INCREMENT (16-25) PRICE OF $1,491 A UNIT WAS APPARENT FROM THE FACE OF THE BID; AND THAT THE INTENDED PRICE IN QUESTION WAS CLEARLY COMPATIBLE WITH THE BIDDING PATTERN OF HEWLETT-PACKARD. IN VIEW THEREOF, A CORRECTION OF THE HEWLETT-PACKARD BID WAS EFFECTED, ON THE GROUND THAT IT WAS IN CONSONANCE WITH ASPR 2-406.2 AND DECISION B 150318(2), JUNE 6, 1963, OF THIS OFFICE.

BY LETTER DATED NOVEMBER 20, 1972, HEADQUARTERS, AIR FORCE LOGISTICS COMMAND ADOPTED THE POSITION OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER AND RECOMMENDED THAT THE SUBJECT PROTEST BE DENIED. BY LETTER OF NOVEMBER 27, 1972, THE DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE (HEADQUARTERS) CONCURRED IN THIS DECISION AND FORWARDED THE SUBJECT FILE TO OUR OFFICE. AS OF THIS DATE, AWARD HAS NOT BEEN MADE TO THE HEWLETT-PACKARD COMPANY.

THE GROUNDS FOR YOUR PROTEST ARE THAT THE IFB SPECIFICALLY AND FORCEFULLY INDICATED THAT FAILURE TO BID ON ALL ITEMS WOULD RENDER A BID NONRESPONSIVE AND CAUSE IT TO BE REJECTED; THAT THE DECISION B 150318(2), SUPRA, WAS INAPPLICABLE TO THE PRESENT SITUATION FOR SEVERAL SIGNIFICANT REASONS; THAT A NONRESPONSIVE BID COULD NOT BE MODIFIED SO AS TO MAKE IT RESPONSIVE; THAT THE FACT THAT THE BIDDER COULD NOT HAVE BEEN REQUIRED TO PERFORM THE COMPLETE CONTRACT BY THE GOVERNMENT INDICATED THAT THE BID DID NOT CONFORM TO THE SOLICITATION REQUIREMENTS; AND THAT CONSIDERATION OF A PRICE SAVINGS FOR THE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT PERMIT THE CORRECTION OF A NONRESPONSIVE BID.

A FUNDAMENTAL RULE OF THE COMPETITIVE BID SYSTEM IS THAT IN ORDER TO BE CONSIDERED FOR AN AWARD A BID MUST COMPLY IN ALL MATERIAL RESPECTS WITH THE IFB AT OPENING. 46 COMP. GEN. 434, 435(1966); B-162793, JANUARY 18, 1968. THE BIDDER CANNOT ADD TO OR MODIFY THE BID AFTER OPENING TO MAKE THE BID COMPLY WITH THE IFB, AND IT DOES NOT MATTER WHETHER AN ERROR IS DUE TO INADVERTENCE, MISTAKE OR OTHERWISE. B 161950, NOVEMBER 2, 1961. THE QUESTION OF RESPONSIVENESS OF A BID IS FOR DETERMINATION UPON THE BASIS OF THE BID AS SUBMITTED AND IT IS NOT PROPER TO CONSIDER THE REASONS FOR NONRESPONSIVENESS. B-148701, JUNE 27, 1962.

A BID IS GENERALLY REGARDED AS NONRESPONSIVE ON ITS FACE FOR FAILURE TO INCLUDE A PRICE ON EVERY ITEM AS REQUIRED BY THE IFB AND MAY NOT BE CORRECTED. B-176254, SEPTEMBER 1, 1972; B-173243, JULY 12, 1971; B 165769, JANUARY 21, 1969; B-162793, SUPRA; B-161929, AUGUST 28, 1967. THE RATIONALE FOR THESE DECISIONS IS THAT WHERE A BIDDER FAILED TO SUBMIT A PRICE FOR AN ITEM, HE GENERALLY CANNOT BE SAID TO BE OBLIGATED TO PERFORM THAT SERVICE AS PART OF THE OTHER SERVICES FOR WHICH PRICES WERE SUBMITTED. B-170680, OCTOBER 6, 1970; B-129351, OCTOBER 9, 1956.

TO PROMULGATE A RULE WHICH WOULD ALLOW BIDDERS TO CORRECT A PRICE OMISSION AFTER AN ALLEGATION OF MISTAKE IN BID WOULD GENERALLY GRANT THE BIDDER AN OPTION TO EXPLAIN AFTER OPENING WHETHER HIS INTENT WAS TO PERFORM OR NOT PERFORM THE WORK FOR WHICH THE PRICES WERE ORIGINALLY OMITTED. B-176254, SUPRA. TO EXTEND THIS OPTION WOULD IN EFFECT BE TANTAMOUNT TO GRANTING THE OPPORTUNITY TO SUBMIT A NEW BID. B-166778, JULY 9, 1969; B-161628, JULY 20, 1967; B-150168, NOVEMBER 13, 1962. HAVE THEREFORE HELD THAT AN ALLEGATION OF ERROR IS PROPER FOR CONSIDERATION ONLY WHERE THE BID IS RESPONSIVE AND OTHERWISE PROPER FOR ACCEPTANCE. 40 COMP. GEN. 432, 435(1961); 38 ID. 819, 821(1959); B 160663, JANUARY 26, 1967; B-148701, SUPRA. ALTHOUGH THE GOVERNMENT COULD EFFECT SAVINGS IN SOME PROCUREMENTS BY ALLOWING CORRECTION OF NONRESPONSIVE BIDS, THE MANY DECISIONS HOLDING THAT A NONRESPONSIVE BID MAY NOT BE CORRECTED ARE MANIFESTATIONS OF THE PRINCIPLE THAT IT IS MORE IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT TO MAINTAIN INTEGRITY IN THE COMPETITIVE BID SYSTEM THAN IT IS TO OBTAIN A MONETARY GAIN IN AN INDIVIDUAL AWARD. -161628, SUPRA.

OUR OFFICE HAS RECOGNIZED, HOWEVER, A VERY LIMITED EXCEPTION TO THESE RULES, AND IT IS UPON THIS EXCEPTION THAT THE AIR FORCE RECOMMENDS THE CORRECTION OF HEWLETT-PACKARD'S BID BE PERMITTED TO STAND. BASICALLY, EVEN THOUGH A BIDDER FAILS TO SUBMIT A PRICE FOR AN ITEM IN A BID, THAT OMISSION CAN BE CORRECTED IF THE BID, AS SUBMITTED, INDICATES NOT ONLY THE PROBABILITY OF ERROR BUT ALSO THE EXACT NATURE OF THE ERROR AND THE AMOUNT INTENDED. B-151332, JUNE 27, 1963. THE RATIONALE FOR THIS EXCEPTION IS THAT WHERE THE CONSISTENCY OF THE PRICING PATTERN IN THE BIDDING DOCUMENTS ESTABLISHES BOTH THE EXISTENCE OF THE ERROR AND THE BID ACTUALLY INTENDED, TO HOLD THAT THE BID IS NONRESPONSIVE WOULD BE TO CONVERT WHAT APPEARS TO BE AN OBVIOUS CLERICAL ERROR OF OMISSION TO A MATTER OF NONRESPONSIVENESS. B-157429, AUGUST 19, 1965.

THE DECISIONS WHICH HAVE TURNED ON THIS CONCEPT AND WHICH HAVE ALLOWED CORRECTION OF OMISSIONS HAVE GENERALLY INVOLVED BIDDING SCHEDULES SOLICITING BIDS ON SIMILAR ITEMS. THESE DECISIONS ARE BASED ON THE PROPOSITION THAT THE BIDDER INDICATES HIS INTENT TO BID A CERTAIN PRICE FOR AN ITEM OTHERWISE NOT BID UPON BY BIDDING THE SAME AMOUNT FOR THE SAME MATERIAL IN OTHER PARTS OF HIS BID. FOR EXAMPLE, IN B-150318(2), SUPRA, ALTHOUGH A BIDDER FAILED TO BID ON MANHOLES IN 4 OF 78 SUBITEMS, WHENEVER HE BID ON SIMILAR MANHOLES IN THE OTHER 74 ITEMS, HE BID THE SAME PRICE CONSISTENTLY. WE UPHELD THE DECISION TO CORRECT THE FOUR SUBITEM PRICE OMISSIONS AND STATED THE RULE THAT:

*** AN APPARENT LOW BIDDER MAY CORRECT A PRICE OMISSION ALLEGED PRIOR TO AWARD, ON AN ITEM WHICH MIGHT OR MIGHT NOT BE ORDERED UNDER THE RESULTING CONTRACT, IF THE ERRONEOUS BID ITSELF ESTABLISHES A DEFINITE AND EASILY RECOGNIZABLE PATTERN OF PRICES WHICH CLEARLY INDICATES NOT ONLY THAT THE ALLEGED ERROR IS ANOMALOUS TO THE PATTERN BUT ALSO THAT THE ALLEGEDLY INTENDED FIGURE IS ONE WHICH IS SOLELY COMPATIBLE WITH THE PATTERN.

SIMILARLY, WHERE A BIDDER FAILED TO SHOW A PRICE ON A SUBITEM INVOLVING A PARTICULAR TYPE OF UPHOLSTERY, HE WAS ALLOWED TO CORRECT THE BID BY INSERTING A PRICE FOR THE SUBITEM WHICH THE BIDDER HAD CONSISTENTLY BID ON THE SAME MATERIAL ELSEWHERE IN THE SCHEDULE. B 137971, DECEMBER 9, 1958. THE PATTERN OF UNIFORM PRICING AS ESTABLISHED IN THE BIDDING DOCUMENTS IS THE ESSENCE OF THE EXCEPTION WHICH ALLOWS THE DETERMINATION AND INSERTION OF THE INTENDED BID PRICE. B-146329, AUGUST 28, 1961.

APPLYING THESE PRINCIPLES TO THE INSTANT SITUATION, IT IS APPARENT THAT THE HEWLETT-PACKARD BID ITSELF ESTABLISHES A DISCERNIBLE PATTERN OF A SINGLE PRICE PER UNIT FOR THE INITIAL ORDER QUANTITY AND ALL FOLLOW ON QUANTITY INCREMENTS CONTAINED IN THE BID. IN OUR VIEW, THE BID CLEARLY SHOWS THAT THE ONLY PRICE INTENDED TO BE CHARGED BY HEWLETT PACKARD FOR AN OSCILLOSCOPE UNDER THE IFB IS $1,491, REGARDLESS OF THE NUMBER OR THE INCREMENTAL SEQUENCE IN WHICH THE OSCILLOSCOPES ARE ORDERED.

YOU ARGUE THAT THE BID PRICE FOR THE FOLLOW ON QUANTITY OF 16 THRU 25 CANNOT BE ASCERTAINED FROM THE BID BECAUSE THE PRICE FOR AN ARBITRARY QUANTITY OF OSCILLOSCOPES MAY INVOLVE UNKNOWN VARIABLES THAT COULD MAKE THE UNIT PRICE FOR THAT QUANTITY DIFFERENT THAN THE PRICE FOR LESSER AND GREATER QUANTITIES. WE DO NOT FIND ANY INDICATION, HOWEVER, THAT HEWLETT- PACKARD DID NOT TAKE SUCH DIVERSE AND UNKNOWN VARIABLES INTO CONSIDERATION IN DETERMINING ITS BID OF $1,491 FOR THE SPECIFIED QUANTITIES OF OSCILLOSCOPES.

YOU ALSO CONTEND THAT THE BID OF HEWLETT-PACKARD GAVE THAT COMPANY AN OPTION TO ACCEPT OR REJECT THE CONTRACT, AND THAT SUCH A BID HAS TRADITIONALLY BEEN DECLARED NONRESPONSIVE BECAUSE OF THIS "OPTION" QUALITY. GENERALLY, WHERE ANY SUBSTANTIAL DOUBT EXISTS AS TO WHETHER A BIDDER UPON AWARD COULD BE REQUIRED TO PERFORM ALL THE WORK CALLED FOR IF HE CHOSE NOT TO, THE INTEGRITY OF THE COMPETITIVE BID SYSTEM REQUIRES REJECTION OF THE BID UNLESS THE BID OTHERWISE AFFIRMATIVELY INDICATES THAT THE BIDDER CONTEMPLATED PERFORMANCE OF THE WORK. 51 COMP. GEN. 543, 547(1972). THIS RULE, HOWEVER, DOES NOT PROHIBIT THE CORRECTION OF A PRICE OMISSION IN A BID WHEN THE FIGURE INTENDED IS ESTABLISHED BY THE BID ITSELF. ABSENT CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE THAT THE BIDDER INTENDED A PRICE DIFFERENT THAN THE ONE ESTABLISHED UNDER THE PRICING PATTERN RULE, IT IS OUR OPINION THAT THE BIDDER WOULD NOT HAVE AN OPTION TO REFUSE THE CONTRACT AT THE PRICE WHICH WAS EVIDENCED BY THE BID. YOU SAY THAT THE PRINCIPLE ENUNCIATED IN B 150318(2), SUPRA, IS INAPPLICABLE TO THE PRESENT CASE BECAUSE THE ITEM IN QUESTION MUST BE ORDERED AND, THUS, DOES NOT CONFORM TO THE STATEMENT IN THAT DECISION THAT THE ITEM "MIGHT OR MIGHT NOT BE ORDERED." WE BELIEVE THAT YOU HAVE ATTACHED UNDUE IMPORTANCE TO THAT STATEMENT WHICH MERELY DESCRIBED AN ADDITIONAL FEATURE OF THE PROCUREMENTS BEING COMPARED. IT WAS NOT INTENDED TO ESTABLISH THE UNCERTAINTY OF ORDERING AS A CRITERION FOR APPLICATION OF THE PRICING PATTERN RULE WHICH WAS THERE BEING OBSERVED.

YOU FURTHER CONTEND THAT THE EXISTENCE OF THE VARIOUS SPECIFIC ADMONITIONS TO THE BIDDER THAT FAILURE TO BID ON AN ITEM WOULD CAUSE THE BID TO BE REJECTED PROHIBITS THE CORRECTIVE ACTION TAKEN BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER. CONTRARY TO YOUR CONTENTION, APPLICATION OF THE PRICING PATTERN RULE IS NOT PRECLUDED BY THE VARIOUS CAUTIONARY PROVISIONS OF THE IFB. SEE B-150318(2), SUPRA, WHERE THE BIDDER WAS ALLOWED TO CORRECT A PRICE OMISSION ALTHOUGH A PROVISION OF THE IFB STATED THAT FAILURE TO BID ON ALL ITEMS WOULD DISQUALIFY THE BID.

FINALLY, YOU CITE B-160663, SUPRA, FOR THE PROPOSITION THAT EVEN IF THE OMITTED PRICE IN THE BID COULD BE CONSTRUED FROM OTHER PORTIONS OF THE BID, THE NONRESPONSIVENESS CANNOT BE CURED BY CORRECTION. AS INDICATED ABOVE, THE CORRECTION OF AN OMISSION IN A BID PURSUANT TO A PRICING PATTERN EVIDENCED IN THAT BID, CONSTITUTES AN EXCEPTION TO THE GENERAL RULE THAT A NONRESPONSIVE BID CANNOT BE CURED BY CORRECTION. SINCE THE CITED CASE DID NOT INVOLVE A PRICING PATTERN SITUATION, IT IS NOT REGARDED AS PROVIDING SUPPORT FOR REJECTION OF THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE PRICING PATTERN IN THE CASE AT HAND.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, WE ARE OF THE OPINION THAT THE CORRECTION OF THE HEWLETT-PACKARD BID, TO REFLECT A UNIT PRICE OF $1,491 FOR THE QUANTITY INCREMENT OF 16 THRU 25, WAS PROPER.

ACCORDINGLY, YOUR PROTEST AGAINST THE PROPOSED ACCEPTANCE OF THAT COMPANY'S BID IS DENIED.