Protest of Government's Use of Competitive Solicitation To Test Market

B-195144: Oct 1, 1979

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A firm protested the issuance of an invitation for bids (IFB) and the subsequent award of the contract to another firm, contending that it constituted unfair procurement practices. The firm objected to the contracting agengy's testing the market to determine whether a better price for the services could be obtained. The protester also contended that it was misled by the contract renewal clause, believing that if it performed the work properly, the contract would last for 3 years. The protester's contract provided for an initial period of one year, with the Government retaining the option to renew the contract at its sole discretion for two successive 1-year periods. The Government renewed the contract for the first option year, but issued the IFB for the second option year which resulted in the award of the contract to another firm. It was held that the decision not to exercise the contract option was proper as it is specifically permitted by Defense Aquisition Regulations. It was also held that the renewal clause should not have misled the contractor since it specifically provided that the Government had the option to renew the contract at its sole discretion. Accordingly, the protest was denied.

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