Protest Against Rejection of Bid
B-199138: Sep 23, 1980
- Full Report:
A firm protested the rejection of its bid because the General Services Administration (GSA) found that the protester did not satisfy the requirements of the qualified products list (QPL) clause of the invitation for bids (IFB). The protester proposed to furnish a corrosive prevention compound produced by a qualified manufacturer, but intended to package it in pressurized aerosol cans. It intended to fill and pressurize the cans itself. The contracting officer rejected the firm's bid because it was not a qualified aerosol manufacturer, and the filled aerosol can was not a qualified product. GSA contended that the filling and pressurizing of the cans was a manufacturing process rather than a packaging process, and that the filled and pressurized can was the product or end item under the QPL. GAO felt that the fundamental question to be addressed was whether the essential needs of the government, as reflected in the QPL, would be satisfied by the offered product. The IFB called for two items of corrosion preventive in pressurized form and stated that a QPL qualification was required for all items. The QPL qualification of the product in pressurized form is dependent upon its ability to pass additional applicable specialized tests, which establish criteria peculiar only to pressurized cans. Transferring a basic product, which qualified in bulk form, into pressurized containers amounts to more than repackaging a qualified product and has an affect on the qualified status of the end product. Since the protester's product had been subjected to only those tests for the basic material, but not those established for aerosol cans, GAO concluded that the protester was not offering to supply the qualified product, and GSA acted reasonably in rejecting the protester's bid as nonresponsive. Controversy existed over the oral advice which GSA contracting officers gave the protester about conformation with the QPL. The IFB clearly stated that oral explanations or instructions given before award would not be binding, and any explanation desired regarding the meaning of the solicitation must be requested in writing. GSA correctly found the firm's bid nonresponsive. GAO found no merit to the firm's argument that it was misled by GSA contracting personnel. The protest was denied.