Protest Alleging Solicitation Specifications Were Unduly Restrictive

B-202099: Apr 24, 1981

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A firm protested the award of a contract by a grantee funded by the Urban Mass Transportation Administration. The firm alleged that the specifications in the solicitation were unduly restrictive in that they were provided by and were identical to those for a system manufactured by the low bidder. The protester also alleged that the transit authority personnel changed the specification and that it was not formally advised of the award until more than a month after it submitted its bid bond. Alleged deficiencies which are apparent on the face of a solicitation should be filed before the bid opening or before the closing date for receipt of initial proposals. Since the protest was not filed in a timely manner, GAO would not consider the first issue. GAO was not aware of any regulation which requires notice to unsuccessful bidders in procurements by Federal grantees. Even in a direct Federal procurement, lack of notice constitutes a mere procedural irregularity which, in the absence of prejudice, does not effect the validity of an otherwise proper award. Therefore, the issue regarding the notice of award was without merit. The complaint was dismissed in part and denied in part.