Contentions That Bidders Were Nonresponsive

B-184970: Apr 15, 1976

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The third low bidder under a solicitation contended that the first and second low bids should have been rejected as nonresponsive. The protest was considered even though it was untimely since it reflected serious misunderstandings by the agency of concepts of responsibility and responsiveness. The following deficiencies in the procurement were noted: "Descriptive Schedules" in the solicitation containing blanks to be filled in by bidders were descriptive literature requirements even though the agency failed to use descriptive literature clauses prescribed by regulations; a bidder's failure to complete these blanks made its bid nonresponsive and was not a matter of responsibility as claimed by the agency; a statement in a cover letter that the bidder would supply equipment specified "or equal" was a reservation by the bidder which renderedits bid nonresponsive; and a bidder's failure to submit information substantiating engine horsepower also resulted in a nonresponsive bid. The bid was responsive to generator specifications since the bidder inserted acceptable information to show compliance. Termination of the contract awarded to a nonresponsive bidder was not recommended because of the urgency of procurement and because of good faith by the agency in spite of errors.

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