Protest Against Department of Energy Contract Award

B-199770: Jan 7, 1981

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A firm protested the award of a contract under a request for proposals (RFP) by the Department of Energy (DOE). The firm contended that DOE unreasonably denied its request for an extension of the closing date for the receipt of proposals. The firm claimed that it failed to receive a copy of the RFP, and amendments to it, until 6 days before the closing date. DOE attributed the late delivery to the Postal Service, claiming that the RFP had been mailed 1 month earlier. The firm's request for an extension of time for response to the RFP was denied by DOE, and the firm protested to GAO. Despite the protest, DOE awarded the contract on the basis that it urgently needed the services involved. In the case of formally advertised procurements as this one, GAO has consistently held that the propriety of a particular procurement rests upon whether adequate competition and reasonable prices were obtained by the Government and not upon whether a particular bidder was given an opportunity to bid. The bidder bears the risk of nonreceipt or delay in receipt of solicitations and amendments in the absence of substantive proof that the agency deliberately attempted to exclude a bidder from participating in the procurement. Although GAO could not determine with any certainty what caused the time delay in this case, nothing in the record indicated that DOE deliberately delayed sending the documents to the firm or that adequate competition was not obtained. Accordingly, the protest was denied.

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