Protest of Sole-Source Award

B-203352: Nov 9, 1981

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A firm protested the award of a sole-source contract by the Small Business Administration (SBA) for the installation, lease, and maintenance of a data communications system. The protester became aware of the SBA need for improvement in its data communications system and submitted an unsolicited proposal to SBA that would satisfy the need. When the protester learned that SBA made an award, it asked SBA for certain information regarding the selection. The protester received documents from SBA explaining the basis for selecting the awardee. The document revealed that SBA determined that the awardee was the only known source of a multiplexer system which SBA considered to be the type of system that would satisfy its unique requirements. The protester contended that it could have proposed a multiplexer system with the same capabilities as the awardee's system and probably at a lower life cycle cost than the awardee's system. The record showed that the protester's basis for protest was that SBA erroneously determined that the awardee was the only source for a multiplexer system which SBA considered to be the type of system to satisfy the unique SBA requirements. Bid protest procedures require that protests be filed within 10 working days after the basis of the protest is known. Since the protest was not filed until approximately 3 weeks after the basis of the protest was known, the protest was untimely and not considered on its merits. Accordingly, the protest was dismissed.