Protest Against Bid Rejection as Nonresponsive

B-198240: Jul 25, 1980

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A company protested that its low bid for 1,726 control communication systems should not have been rejected as nonresponsive. The protester's bid did not provide any information entitling it to waiver of first article testing requirements. Its bid was rejected because it did not furnish prices for the first article requirements. The protester contended that, because the invitations for bids (IFB) solicited bids on a basic offer including first article basis and on an alternate offer based on waiver of first article basis, it bid $154 per unit on the former basis and $149 per unit prices on the latter basis. In that connection, the protester stated that, rather than providing separate prices for each of the first article requirements, it spread the costs of the first article requirements over the number of units to be procured so that the effect of first article requirements on the unit price would be readily apparent. The protester also stated that it was led to believe that this was the proper way to bid. GAO found that the only difference between the IFB basic and alternate offers was that the former included first article testing requirements, whereas, the latter was based on the waiver of these requirements. The bid was thus responsive since it clearly indicated not only the protester's intent to be bound to perform the first article requirements, but it also revealed the exact price of these requirements. Therefore, the protester's failure to complete the first article requirements was a mere formality which may be waived. Accordingly, the protest was sustained.