Protest of Rejection of Bid Modification as Late

B-206796: Jul 7, 1982

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A firm protested the rejection of its bid modification as late and the award of a contract. The protester maintained that its telegraphic modification, which reduced its bid price, was received prior to bid opening. In addition, it contended that the modification made it the low responsive bidder, and thus it was entitled to award. Alternatively, the protester contended that, if the modification was late, the lateness was due to Government mishandling. The modification was not considered because it was time/date stamped 3 minutes after the time set for bid opening. The protester contended that the bid modification was received 11 minutes prior to the bid opening time according to Western Union records. However, Western Union records are unacceptable as proof of the inaccuracy of a time/date stamp at an installation. Since the only acceptable evidence to establish the time of receipt of the modification was the time/date stamp, which indicated receipt 3 minutes after bid opening, the contracting officer properly determined that the modification was late, and the question of mishandling was irrelevant. Accordingly, the protest was denied.