Protests Involving Justifications for Purchase of Equipment at Higher Prices Than Available under Federal Supply Schedule

B-192314,B-192373: Nov 14, 1978

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Two companies protested against awards of orders, contending that lower-priced equipment was available under their Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) contracts. The protests were denied because: the Government had the alternative of justifying the purchase of higher-priced items in spite of a statement in the request for quotations (RFQ) that the award would be made to the vendor offering the lowest price, and such justifications need not be included in the RFQ; although the justification for purchase of the higher-priced equipment was questionable in some respects, it was not shown to be totally unreasonable; prices offered for trade-in items are matters of business judgment and may be used by the offeror to gain a competitive advantage if not in violation of the solicitation; and a purchase may be made at a higher price under a multiple-award FSS contract where the agency determines that it is essential that the item selected be compatible with existing items.