Protest Alleging That Solicitation Reduced Competition

B-197185: Dec 12, 1980

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A firm protested an award of a contract for data processing equipment to a second firm. The protest was based on the contention that the 9-month system life reduced competition and violated the delegation of procurement authority issued by the General Services Administration. The original solicitation listed a 9-month term for the contract with a statement to the effect that the Government contemplated a 21-month use of the hardware. An amendment changed this 21-month period to a 9-month time period with an option for further leasing on a month to month basis. The protester did not submit a new bid but let stand its bid with the 21-month time period included. The award was subsequently given to a second firm, and the protester was so notified. The contention regardng the 9-month system life was untimely under bid protest procedures. The protester knew in advance about the change in the solicitation but did not act on this knowledge. The protester complained to the soliciting agency prior to the closing date of the solicitation and was advised that the requirements would not be changed back to the original specifications. Following a protest to the agency, the protester had 10 working days to file a protest with GAO. The protest was received well after this time constraint. One basis of the protest was timely because of information the protester received at the debriefing. The protester argued that the price given by the awardee was higher than the bid submitted by the protester. Apparently, this figure was derived by extending the 9-month price quoted by the awardee. However, based on the 9-month evaluated system life, the awardee was the low, technically acceptable offeror and, therefore, this basis of protest was denied. The protest was dismissed in part and denied in part.

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