Protest Alleging Mistake in Bid

B-205085: Aug 21, 1981

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A firm protested the award of a contract to it by the Army for dining facility attendant services. The protester alleged that the award was improperly made because the contracting officer was on notice of a mistake in its bid. The contract disputes clause, contained in the protester's contract with the Army, reflected the provisions of the Contract Disputes Act of 1978 which require that all claims relating to a contract be filed with the contracting officer for a decision. Although the protester styled its complaint as a protest, it was actually a mistake-in-bid claim. While GAO has traditionally considered mistake-in-bid claims, GAO recently held that mistake claims alleged after award are ones relating to a contract which should be processed in accordance with the provisions of the Act. The protester alleged that it had informed the contracting officer at a preaward meeting that a mistake had been discovered in its bid. However, the Army stated that the mistake was alleged after the contract had been awarded. GAO held that the matter was appropriate for resolution in accordance with the disputes procedure of the contract since: (1) it was not clear that a preaward allegation of a mistake was made, and (2) factual disputes such as this can best be resolved through the appeal procedure of the Act. Accordingly, the mistake-in-bid claim was dismissed.