Qualified Products List Requirement Does Not Constitute Definitive Responsibility Criterion

B-193283: Mar 29, 1979

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A bidder protested two contract awards under an invitation for bids and a request for proposals, both issued by the Defense General Supply Center, for the procurement of military stopwatches. The solicitations required that the stopwatches be qualified end products under the applicable Qualified Products List (QPL). While the awardee was not listed as a qualified manufacturer, it proposed to furnish qualified products of another manufacturer for both solicitations. The protester contended that the awardee was not an authorized distributor under the QPL, had no intention of furnishing a qualified end product, and was otherwise nonresponsible. The protester also stated that, prior to contract award, the contracting officer should have determined whether the awardee had the authority and capability to provide the qualified stopwatches offered in its bid. Valid bids may be submitted in QPL procurements by bidders other than manufacturers or distributors. A review of the awardee's bid and proposal indicated that the awardee offered without exception to furnish the QPL product in compliance with the specifications. Whether the awardee will in fact furnish a QPL product in conformity with the specifications in the course of its performance of the contracts relates to the contractor's responsibility and to matters of contract administration. GAO will not review affirmative determinations of responsibility in the absence of a showing of fraud on the part of the procuring officials or allegations that definitive responsibility criteria were misplaced. The protest was dismissed.