Bid Is Nonresponsive When Telegraphic Modification Is Ambiguous

B-193148: Feb 12, 1979

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The low bidder protested the rejection of its bid by the Army Corps of Engineers. A bid modification was submitted, which according to the contracting officer, made the bid ambiguous. The protester contended that the pertinent information was not ambiguous and the modification could be understood. GAO found the modification as written to be inconsistent with the bid as submitted since the modification called for reducing the prompt-payment discount stated in the bid to 15 percent, whereas the former amount was already lower at 6 percent. Of the various interpretations advanced by the different parties to the protest, the plain language of the bid did not favor one interpretation over the other. Therefore, the ambiguity rendered the bid nonresponsive and the protest was denied.