Contract Award Protest

B-205024: Apr 5, 1982

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A firm protested the award of a contract under an invitation for bids (IFB) issued by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) for riot helmets. The protester contended that the award was improper because it was the low, responsive bidder and that the awardee could not comply with its Buy American certification because its product was actually manufactured by a Canadian company. The IFB specified a brand name or equal product meeting certain salient characteristics. In its bid offering the equal product, the protester's price made it the third low bidder. When the lower bids were rejected, the protester maintained that it was entitled to the award and argued that, although its product met the INS needs, INS arbitrarily rejected its bid. GAO found that the rejection of the bid was proper, because the product offered by the protester varied from the listed characteristics of the brand-name item in two major respects. Regarding the contention that the awardee's product was a Canadian end product, the awardee furnished certification to INS that the helmets would be manufactured in the United States from domestic components. The assertion that the awardee would not be able to comply with the obligation to supply a domestic end product was a matter of contract administration which GAO will not review. Accordingly, the protest was denied in part and dismissed in part.