Protest Alleging Improper Bid Specifications

B-198725: Jan 13, 1981

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A company protested an invitation for bids (IFB) issued by the Department of the Navy. The company had originally filed a protest alleging that the IFB contained unreasonable specifications and was unduly restrictive of competition. The Navy subsequently issued three amendments to the IFB and postponed the bid opening so that bid corrections could be effected. The company argued that the changes did not correct all improprieties and contended that it was purposefully prevented from submitting a bid since it never received copies of the first two amendments. GAO will not question a restriction in a solicitation's specifications unless it is shown to be unreasonable and, therefore, unduly restrictive of competition. Since the company's allegations were not supported by convincing evidence, it did not meet its burden of proof. The mere fact that a protester is unwilling or unable to meet the terms of a specification does not render the specification unduly restrictive of competition if it represents the legitimate needs of the agency. Since there was no evidence to show that the specification did not fulfill a reasonable need, it was not unduly restrictive. The first two amendments to the IFB were issued only as a notification of postponement of the bid opening date. Since the company received the third amendment, which made substantive revisions and established the final bid opening date, it was not without any information needed to prepare its bid. The protest was denied.