Protest Involving Rejection of Low Bid

B-194565: Aug 27, 1979

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A company protested the rejection of its low bid for certain items of electric fans under an invitation for bids (IFB) issued by the General Services Administration (GSA). The IFB stipulated that failure of samples to meet all required characteristics would require rejection of the bid. The protester contended that rejection of its bid samples was based on sabotage of, or deliberate tampering with, its pedestal fan sample. GSA replied that distortion in the fan guard resulted from the manufacturing process. Allegations relating to the possibility of criminal conduct should be referred to law enforcement authorities rather than to GAO. GAO did not take exception to the rejection of the protester's samples by GSA even though the protester was the lowest bidder on some items. The record did not show that the rejection was arbitrary or that the samples were evaluated in other than an impartial and careful manner. The rejection was in accord with the IFB, which provided that the failure to meet all required bid sample characteristics would require rejection of the bid. It is not the policy of GAO to refer bid samples to an independent laboratory for further testing if the protester has requested such action when his samples are rejected. Even though other samples taken from the identical production run were certified by an independent laboratory, this certification was not decisive on the question of the acceptability of the samples, nor did the fact that similar samples may have been erroneously accepted under prior procurements bar the Government from rejecting future nonconforming samples. The protest was denied, and several issues were dismissed as untimely.