Protest Involving Bid Rejection

B-194495: Aug 17, 1979

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A company protested the rejection of its low bid as nonresponsive under an invitation for bids, a portion of which called for brand name or equal items. The contracting officer rejected the bid because a bid form other than that provided by the contracting activity was used and it did not include a statement that the company would comply with all of the terms and conditions set forth in the invitation. The bid was also rejected because some of the equipment offered did not conform to the specifications of the invitation and because the company indicated in its bid that it was not furnishing some equipment that was required. The protester contended that it was told by the contracting agency that it could submit the bid on another form, that it included a statement in the bid that it was bidding in accordance with the specifications, and that it would be bound by the specifications to supply the parts in question. It was held that the bid was improperly rejected for the following reasons: (1) the fact that the invitation pages containing terms and conditions were not also returned with the bid does not render the bid nonresponsive; (2) since the models offered were in essence the same as the name brand items called for in the invitation and met all salient characteristics, the low bid was not nonresponsive; (3) the fact that the supplier's list of equipment included statements that the supplier did not intend to supply the bidder with certain nonbrand equipment did not relieve the bidder of the obligation to supply the Government with the equipment and therefore should not have been grounds for rejection. The protest was sustained.