B-233101.2, Mar 27, 1989, 89-1 CPD 308

B-233101.2: Mar 27, 1989

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PROCUREMENT - Bid Protests - GAO procedures - GAO decisions - Reconsideration DIGEST: Request for reconsideration of prior decision sustaining protest challenging contracting agency's decision to allow the awardee to correct an apparent mistake in its bid is denied where awardee does not establish any factual or legal errors in the prior decision. There was a discrepancy between the unit price and the extended total in item 0007B. Erickson's stated unit price for item 0007B was $1. The estimated quantity was 1. The stated extended price was only $75. That neither the invitation nor the bid contained clear and convincing evidence establishing that $50 was the intended unit price. That the correction therefore was improper since it resulted in the displacement of other lower bidders.

B-233101.2, Mar 27, 1989, 89-1 CPD 308

PROCUREMENT - Bid Protests - GAO procedures - GAO decisions - Reconsideration DIGEST: Request for reconsideration of prior decision sustaining protest challenging contracting agency's decision to allow the awardee to correct an apparent mistake in its bid is denied where awardee does not establish any factual or legal errors in the prior decision.

GSX Government Services, Inc.-- Reconsideration:

Erickson, Inc., requests that we reconsider our decision in GSX Government Services, Inc., B-233101, Feb. 9, 1989, 89-1 CPD Para. ***, sustaining GSX's protest against the Department of the Navy's decision to permit Erickson to make downward corrections in its bid. We deny the request.

In its protest, GSX argued that the contracting agency improperly permitted Erickson, the awardee, to correct a mistake in its bid. Erickson submitted a bid indicating a total of $2,253,864, but there was a discrepancy between the unit price and the extended total in item 0007B. Erickson's stated unit price for item 0007B was $1,500, and the estimated quantity was 1,500, but the stated extended price was only $75,000. Because the invitation for bids (IFB) provided that, in case of a discrepancy between unit prices and the extended total, the unit prices would prevail, the contracting officer changed Erickson's bid for item 0007B from $75,000 to $2,250,000. This raised Erickson's total bid to $4,435,795, which resulted in Erickson's being the eighth low bidder.

Erickson subsequently requested a correction of its bid to reflect its allegedly intended unit price of $50 for item 0007B; the Navy agreed, and permitted correction, which left Erickson the low bidder. We found, however, that neither the invitation nor the bid contained clear and convincing evidence establishing that $50 was the intended unit price, and that the correction therefore was improper since it resulted in the displacement of other lower bidders. See Eagle Electric, B-228500, Feb. 5, 1988, 88-1 CPD Para. 116.

In its reconsideration request, Erickson argues that the contracting officer improperly failed to request verification of Erickson's bid before increasing it based on the unit/extended price discrepancy in the bid; Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Sec. 14.406 calls for such verification where the contracting officer suspects a mistake in bid after bid opening. Had the contracting officer complied with the FAR requirement, Erickson maintains, the firm would have advised him that the $75,000 extended price for item 0007B was correct; its apparent low bid therefore would not have been increased; the subsequent unit price correction reducing the bid could be effected without displacement of other bidders; and the more lenient standard for permitting mistake correction would apply (i.e., clear and convincing evidence, not limited to the invitation and bid, FAR Sec. 14.406-3(a)).

This argument is without merit. As we explained in our original decision, since the solicitation specifically provided that in the case of a unit/extended price discrepancy the unit price would control, Erickson's total bid as submitted had to be interpreted in light of this provision. Thus, although the total bid, as entered by Erickson, was $2,253,864, the bid when read in accordance with the IFB totaled $4,435,795. As this was the correct total for Erickson by operation of the IFB, rather than the result of a mistake correction, the FAR verification requirements did not apply. In other words, Erickson was the eighth low (not the first low) bidder at the time of bid opening, and the propriety of any subsequent reduction in its bid price due to a correction would be judged according to the standard applicable where the correction will displace other bidders (i.e., clear and convincing evidence in the invitation and bid itself).

Erickson contends in the alternative that the existence of its mistake and the bid actually intended were in fact ascertainable from the bid itself, since only a $50 unit price for item 0007B would be consistent with the $75,000 extended price, and that the contracting officer thus properly permitted correction of its bid notwithstanding the displacement of other bidders.

This argument is no more than a reiteration of the argument the Navy advanced in defend the correction in its report on GSX's original protest. As we stated in our decision, the fact that only a $50 unit price would be consistent with the $75,000 extended price is not clear evidence that $50 was intended, since the $1,500 stated unit price could have been intended and the IFB specified that the unit price, not the extended price, would be controlling; accepting Erickson's (and the Navy's) position would reverse the IFB's intent by accepting the extended price, rather than the unit price, as correct in resolving a discrepancy. As we further noted in our prior decision, this interpretation also would be consistent with the array of bids, which ranged up to a $1,900 unit price for item 0007B. Erickson has presented no other argument or evidence that our conclusion is incorrect.

Erickson contends for the first time in its request for reconsideration that since GSX protested on behalf of a different bidding entity, Special Waste, Inc., GSX lacks the direct economic interest necessary to qualify as an "interested party" with standing to protest under our Bid Protest Regulations, 4 C.F.R. Sec. 21.0(a) (1988). We will not consider on reconsideration an argument such as this that could have been, but was not, raised in the course of the original protest. Johnson Engineering and Maint. Co.-- Reconsideration, B-228184.2, Mar. 23, 1988, 88-1 CPD Para. 298. In any case, we note that GSX was listed in Special Waste's bid as the firm's parent company; we see no reason why GSX would not be permitted to pursue this matter on behalf of Special Waste.

As Erickson has not established that our prior decision was based on errors of fact or law, we deny the request for reconsideration. 4 C.F.R. Sec. 21.12(a).