Protest of GSA Request for Proposals

B-201553: May 21, 1981

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A firm protested a request for proposals (RFP) issued by the General Services Administration (GSA) on a multiple award basis. The protester contended that GSA effectively precluded it from submitting a proposal for a particular item. Specifically, the protester stated that, although it received a copy of the RFP prior to the proposal due date, it did not identify the item in sufficient time to submit a timely proposal. The protester argued that it should not have been held responsible for overlooking the item description because: (1) the RFP cover test did not expressly contain the item description, but contained only the pertinent group classification which had been recently changed without notice to the protester; (2) the procurement was conducted by a GSA activity other than the one which conducted a prior procurement for the item; and (3) GSA did not furnish the protester with a complete bid set but only a copy of the solicitation. It is well established that the responsibility for the preparation and submission of a bid or proposal is upon the bidder. Implicit in that responsibility is the duty of a potential bidder or offeror to carefully examine the solicitation documents which describe the requirement to be procured. It was clear that if the protester had carefully examined the RFP, it would have noted the requirement. The protester ultimately detected this requirement on its own reading. GAO concluded that the protester, rather than GSA, was ultimately responsible for its failure to identify the item in question in sufficient time to submit a timely proposal. Accordingly, the protest was denied.