[Protest of Noncompetitive GSA Order]

B-206327.4: Dec 22, 1982

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A firm protested a noncompetitive order placed by the General Services Administration (GSA) with another firm for a telephone system and services for a 5-year term. GSA argued that the protest was untimely filed, but the protester contended that misrepresentations by GSA personnel about the nature and type of contract resulted in the protest's not being filed immediately. GAO noted that the record was not clear as to when the protester obtained the information which formed the basis for its protest, nor was there any official statement to support the GSA position. Therefore, GAO resolved the timeliness question in favor of the protester and considered the protest on its merits. GSA had decided to acquire the services on a noncompetitive basis, because its current services needed immediate adjustments and the responsible office was not adequately staffed to perform a competitive procurement. Although the protester conceded that the circumstances justified a noncompetitive award, it contended that the 5-year term was unnecessary and that a noncompetitive award for longer that 2 years was unjustified. GAO concurred with the protester since the record indicated that replacement of the services could be effected in 2 to 3 years. Accordingly, the protest was sustained and the initiation of a competitive procurement was recommended.