Bid Rejection Protest

B-204895: Feb 25, 1982

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A firm protested the rejection of its bid under an invitation for bids issued by the Army for tracking systems interface. According to the contracting officer, several prospective bidders complained that the solicitation drawings were either illegible or incomplete. Therefore, the agency decided that an amendment was necessary, and the bid opening date was extended. The contracting officer stated that the amendment also provided a clear and readable set of drawings, added a page to the drawings, clarified page numbering, and provided an updated parts list. This updated list included parts on the original drawings which were not included on the original parts list, as well as power cords not referenced on the original drawings. The protester submitted the low bid. However, the bid was rejected as nonresponsive since the protester failed to acknowledge the amendment. The firm protested the nonresponsiveness determination because the amendment was signed and returned; in the alternative, the firm argued that the amendment was immaterial and ambiguous as to the mode of acknowledgment. The agency contended that the amendment was not received, the bid did not indicate receipt, and the amendment was material. The protester's bid was dated 2 days before the extended bid opening date. GAO has held that, where a low bid is dated 2 days before an extended bid opening date, this clearly reflects the low bidder's knowledge of the existence of the amendment extending the opening date and constitutes an implied acknowledgment of the receipt of the amendment. In these circumstances, the bidder is bound to perform all the amendment changes at the bid price. GAO concluded that the protester's bid should not have been rejected as nonresponsive. Accordingly, the protest was sustained.

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