B-233220, Oct 25, 1988, 88-2 CPD 394

B-233220: Oct 25, 1988

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Allegation that agency improperly eliminated proposal from competitive range based on improper evaluation is untimely. Will not be considered. Where protester was advised of proposal rejection and specific reasons for rejection more than 10 working days prior to filing of protest. Protester is not interested party eligible to challenge propriety of evaluation of awardee's proposal where protester's proposal was eliminated from competitive range. There is another offeror's proposal. A firm is not considered interested where it would not be in line for award if its protest were sustained. Allegations that solicitation amendment was ambiguous and did not allow offerors sufficient additional time before the deadline for submission of proposals are untimely.

B-233220, Oct 25, 1988, 88-2 CPD 394

PROCUREMENT - Bid Protests - GAO procedures - Protest timeliness - 10 day rule DIGEST: 1. Allegation that agency improperly eliminated proposal from competitive range based on improper evaluation is untimely, and will not be considered, where protester was advised of proposal rejection and specific reasons for rejection more than 10 working days prior to filing of protest. PROCUREMENT - Bid Protests - GAO procedures - Interested parties - Direct interest standards 2. Protester is not interested party eligible to challenge propriety of evaluation of awardee's proposal where protester's proposal was eliminated from competitive range, protester did not timely protest elimination of its proposal, and there is another offeror's proposal, besides awardee's, remaining in the competitive range that would be next in line for award; a firm is not considered interested where it would not be in line for award if its protest were sustained. PROCUREMENT - Bid Protest - GAO procedures - Protest timeliness - Apparent solicitation improprieties 3. Allegations that solicitation amendment was ambiguous and did not allow offerors sufficient additional time before the deadline for submission of proposals are untimely, and will not be considered, where not raised until after the deadline for proposal submission.

Vinyl Technology, Inc.:

Vinyl Technology, Inc. (VTI) protests the award of a contract to GEOMET, Inc., under Department of the Army request for proposals (RFP) No. DAAK60- 88-R-0033/G, for cooling garments. VTI challenges the Army's determination that its proposal was so deficient that it did not have a reasonable chance of being selected for award, and the consequent elimination of its proposal from the competitive range. We dismiss the protest as untimely filed.

Our Bid Protest Regulations require that protests concerning arguments such as those raised here be filed with the contracting agency or our Office not later than 10 working days after the basis of protest is or should have been known, whichever is earlier. 4 C.F.R Sec. 21.2(a)(2) (1988). The Army notified VTI that its proposal was being rejected, and of the specific reasons for the rejection, by letter dated September 19. VTI states in its protest submission that it received the Army's letter on September 26. Since VTI's protest submission was not received in our Office until October 14, more than 10 working days after September 26, the protest is untimely filed and will not be considered. See Target Financial Corp., B-226683, June 29, 1987, 87-1 CPD Para 641.

VTI states that its protest is based in part on its knowledge of GEOMET's capabilities, suggesting that VTI is not just protesting the evaluation of its own proposal, but also is questioning the evaluation of GEOMET's proposal in comparison to VTI's. This characterization of the protest is not borne out by the protest submission. While VTI does seem to question GEOMET's experience, the thrust of the protest clearly is that the agency simply misevaluated VTI's proposal in the specified deficient areas (e.g., failure to demonstrate human factors involved in developing the items), not that the VTI and GEOMET proposals were evaluated on different bases.

To the extent that VTI is directly challenging the evaluation of GEOMET's proposal, it is not an interested party. In this regard, we have been informed by the Army that another proposal besides GEOMET's was included in the competitive range, and would be next in line for award if GEOMET's award were invalidated. Since VTI thus would not be in line for award were we to sustain its protest on this ground, VTI lacks the direct economic interest in the outcome necessary for the firm to be considered an interested party; we will only consider allegations raised by interested parties. 4 C.F.R. Secs. 21.0(a) and 21.1(a); State Technical Institute at Memphis, B-229695, B-229695.2, Feb. 10, 1988, 67 Comp.Gen. ***, 88-1 CPD 135.

VTI also alleges procurement improprieties on the part of the Army, consisting largely of the issuance of amendment 0003 to the RFP; VTI argues that the amendment was ambiguous, and that a proper response required more than the 10-day extension of the closing date for receipt of proposals allowed by the amendment. These arguments too are untimely raised. Our Regulations require that protests of alleged deficiencies apparent on the face of a solicitation be filed prior to the next closing date for receipt of proposals. 4 C.F.R. Sec. 21.2 (a)(1). The alleged ambiguity of the amendment and the failure to allow more time for proposal submission both are alleged deficiencies that should have been apparent on the face of the amendment. Therefore, because VTI did not protest before the closing date, these arguments also will not be considered. See R. T. Nelson Painting Services, Inc., B-227953, Oct. 16, 1987, 87-2 CPD Para. 368.

The protest is dismissed.