Protest of Proposal Rejection for Lateness

B-200159: Sep 18, 1980

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A firm protested the rejection of its proposal by the General Services Administration (GSA). The protester asserted that its late proposal should have been considered because: (1) it did not have sufficient time to prepare its offer; (2) it was not aware of a new regulation regarding consideration of late proposals; and (3) GSA was unfair in imposing the unduly onerous requirements of the new regulation because of the short response time. GAO found that the "new regulation" was actually the recently adopted GSA policy for imposing the standard late proposal rules on its multiple-award-schedule contract solicitations. These rules were prominently set forth in the solicitation. Under those rules, a late proposal sent by mail could only be considered if it had been sent by registered or certified mail at least 5 days prior to the date for receipt of proposals. Therefore, the contracting officer was legally required to reject the instant proposal which was sent by regular mail. Accordingly, the protest was summarily denied.