Protest Involving the Award of Delivery Order

B-195082: Jan 3, 1980

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After the award of a delivery order issued by the Department of the Army, Missile Command, for the lease and maintenance of word processing systems, a firm protested the award contending: that the Army utilized intangible cost factors, whereas a cost comparison on the basis of prices in the Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) indicated that the protester's response was more advantageous; that the request for quotations (RFQ) improperly restricted consideration to FSS pricing; that the award exceeded the Maximum Order Limitation (MOL) of the FSS contract which would nullify the obligatory use of FSS prices; that the RFQ and a subsequent amendment called for pricing on nine systems but that the award was made for 15 systems; and that the awardee's response failed to demonstrate that its equipment was "Tempest" approved. The agency replied that the protester was not selected because it failed to meet some mandatory requirements: acceptable storage of user files; the 12-inch paper requirement, the requirement for maximum communications rate; and failure to show it could meet the Tempest security requirement. GAO agreed that the initial three conclusions made by the agency were reasonable and showed that the protester's equipment was technically unacceptable. Army personnel ascertained that testing of the awardee's equipment demonstrated compliance, and there appeared to be no evidence to refute such findings. The protester furnished no evidence to support the allegation that the award violated the MOL of the FSS contract. The RFQ specified that the system would be procured by the placement of a delivery order against a mandatory FSS contract and provided that offers would be evaluated on the basis of technical acceptability and monthly cost, among other conditions. Allegations of improprieties in the RFQ which were not filed until after the evaluation of quotations and subsequent award were untimely. Since the protester's proposed equipment was technically unacceptable, it was ineligible for award regardless of price.