[Protest of Alleged IFB Ambiguity]

B-208605.2: Nov 22, 1982

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A firm filed a protest complaining that an Army invitation for bids (IFB) for guard services was ambiguous. The IFB described two classifications of guards and stipulated a different minimum wage rate for each classification. The protester contended that it was not clear which rate should apply to the guard services described in the IFB and that it based its bid on the more costly classification on the basis of oral advice received from an agency official. Bid protest procedures require that protests based on alleged improprieties in an IFB which are apparent prior to bid opening be filed before that date. Since the protester did not file a protest within this timeframe, GAO would not consider the merits of the protest. The IFB specifically required that any explanation regarding the meaning of the IFB be requested in writing. Because GAO has previously held that bidders rely on oral advice at their own risk, the alleged oral advice which the protester received provided no basis for GAO to consider the protest. GAO found the contention that some bidders did not compute their prices on the basis of the higher wage rate to be speculative and, therefore, not for consideration. However, GAO did advise the agency to be more specific in its classification specifications. Accordingly, the protest was dismissed.