Protest of GSA Contract Award for Procurement of Remote Terminals

B-195028: Jan 3, 1980

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A firm protested the conduct of a procurement for remote terminals to be used as peripherals on leased computers. Because of the proposed use, the terminals necessarily were required to be compatible with the leased software. The RFP required offerors to submit proposals detailing their terminal configurations and how their systems met the requirements of the RFP and advised prospective offerors that the lowest cost offeror submitting an acceptable proposal would be required to perform an extensive operational capability demonstration (OCD) within 30 days of notice. Award was made to a firm other than the protester. During pre-OCD testing of the awardee's system, a problem emerged which resulted from an error in the system generation performed by the user agency. The problem rendered the awardee's equipment incompatible and delayed the OCD, but was circumvented by use of a format other than the one specified in the RFP. The protester alleged that in doing this the procuring agency improperly waived testing requirements and violated the time requirement of the RFP. The waiver of testing requirements is a matter of administrative discretion which GAO does not question unless shown to be arbitrary. Under the circumstances, the solution to the incompatibility problem and the delay of the OCD was not regarded as unreasonable, particularly since they were attributable to causes beyond the awardee's control and did not alter the manner in which the awardee would ultimately be required to perform under the contract. The protester also argued that the awardee's system and software did not meet the commercial availability requirement of the RFP. However, GAO was satisfied that the awardee had fulfilled the requirements of the solicitation in this regard. Accordingly, the protest was denied.