[Protest of Coast Guard Rejection of Bid]

B-210411: May 25, 1983

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A firm protested the Coast Guard's rejection of its bid as nonresponsive and the award of a contract to a higher priced bidder under an invitation for bids (IFB). The protester complained that the IFB specifications which it did not meet were unreasonable and that the awardee's bid also should have been rejected as nonresponsive. GAO found that, since the protester's bid did not comply with the IFB requirements, the Coast Guard had no alternative but to reject the bid. In addition, the protest on this basis was untimely, since bid protest procedures require that protests based upon solicitation improprieties must be filed before bid opening. GAO found no legal merit to the protester's contention that the awardee's bid did not meet IFB requirements. When a bidder has made an unqualified offer to comply with all of the material terms of an IFB, the bidder is legally bound to comply with those terms upon the Government's acceptance of the bid. In addition, GAO will not review affirmative responsibility determinations absent a showing of fraud or that definitive responsibility criteria were not applied. Accordingly, the protest was dismissed in part and denied in part.