[Protest of Interior Contract Award]

B-209384: Jan 31, 1983

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A firm protested a contract award by the Department of the Interior for the replacement of electric transformers at a national park. The protester's total bid price was lower than the awardee's, but the contracting officer adjusted it upward because of the protester's failure to extend certain unit prices as required by the solicitation. When the contracting officer informed the protester of the adjustment, the protester alleged that the figures in the unit price column represented the price of more than one unit and requested the opportunity to correct its prices downward. GAO stated that, under Federal Procurement Regulations, when a bid correction would result in the displacement of another bidder, the mistake and the intended bid must be ascertainable from the bid itself. GAO could not determine whether the allegedly mistaken unit prices were unreasonable and noted that they did compare favorably with other bidders' correct unit prices; therefore, GAO could not conclude that the single unit prices were ascertainable from the bid. The protester also argued that, in telephone conversations with contracting personnel prior to bid opening, it was advised that its interpretation of the bid schedule was correct. However, the protester did not affirmatively prove that it had been so advised by Interior. GAO did not believe that the protester's interpretation of the bidding schedule was reasonable. Accordingly, the protest was denied.