Protest Against Bid Rejection

B-196496: Jun 17, 1980

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A firm protested the rejection of its low bid under an invitation for bids issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for keypunch services at the Denver Service Center. The low bid was submitted by the firm in the amount of $0.0035 per keystroke. The contracting officer estimated that an acceptable bid would be in the range of $0.0015 to $0.0020 per keystroke. The contracting officer notified the firm that its bid was rejected due to its unreasonable price. The firm contended that its bid of $0.0035 per keystroke was reasonable and that the contracting officer's decision to the contrary was erroneous because: (1) he failed to consider the difficulty of the job in determining what is a reasonable price; (2) he is not qualified to state that a reasonable bid would be from $0.0010 to $0.0025 per keystroke; and (3) he relied on the estimated price range obtained from several prospective bidders who were called after bid opening. The record disclosed that the firm's bid was substantially higher than the Government estimate, the price obtained for the prior contract for these services, and the prices received on the resolicitation. Based on this information, and in the absence of any evidence of bad faith or fraud on the part of the contracting activity, GAO concluded that the rejection of the firm's bid due to its unreasonable price was proper. Accordingly, the protest was denied.