Protest of Proposal Rejection as Technically Unacceptable

B-201487: Jun 2, 1981

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A firm protested the rejection of its proposal by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as nonresponsive and the award of the contract to another offeror. The protester argued that it submitted an acceptable proposal and that it was in the Government's interest to award the contract to the protester because its price was lower than the awardee's. Essentially, the protester challenged the FTC technical evaluation of its proposal and the determination that its best and final offer did not satisfy the solicitation requirements. GAO has held that procuring officials enjoy a reasonable degree of discretion in the evaluation of technical proposals and that discretion must not be disturbed unless it has been shown to be arbitrary or in violation of procurement statutes and regulations. GAO will not substitute its judgment for that of the procuring agency. Further, the burden of proof is on the offeror to demonstrate clearly the merits of its proposal or run the risk of having its proposal rejected. FTC referred to seven solicitation requirements to which the protester failed to respond adequately, and the record indicated four more requirements which the protester did not address at all. The fact that the protester does not agree with an agency's evaluation of its proposal does not render that evaluation unreasonable. GAO has held that, once an offer has properly been determined to be technically unacceptable, a lower price which that offer might provide is irrelevant. Thus, the allegation that the award as made resulted in greater cost to the Government was without merit. Accordingly, the protest was denied.