[Request for Reconsideration]

B-205726.2: Aug 16, 1982

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Ralph O. White
(202) 512-8278

Kenneth E. Patton
(202) 512-8205


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

A firm requested reconsideration of a prior decision denying its protest of the Army's rejection of its bid as nonresponsive. In that decision, GAO concluded that the protester's bid for keypunch and verification services was nonresponsive, because a letter accompanying the bid stated that the bidder would adjust its price if the number of specified keystrokes was less than the number actually required to perform the services. In the opinion of GAO, the protester intended this letter to predetermine the formula to be used in calculating any equitable adjustment without resorting to the required changes and disputes procedures. The protester's first ground for reconsideration was that its letter merely restated the bidder's rights under the disputes and changes procedures. GAO considered and rejected this argument in the original decision; therefore, this argument did not constitute a ground for reconsideration. The protester also argued that GAO failed to consider the principle in a prior decision that a bid is not to be rejected because of conditional pricing where it is not likely the conditions will cause the price to rise above that of the next higher bidder, and that GAO ignored Federal procurement regulations concerning the waiver of minor informalities or irregularities. GAO did not believe that the prior decision was applicable since any price adjustment based on the inaccuracy of those specifications would constitute a claim for equitable adjustment which may only be made under the specified changes and disputes procedures. Therefore, any possibility that the price adjustment would not exceed the next high bid would not justify accepting the protester's bid. Since the procedures constitute a material part of the proposed agreement between the bidder and the contracting agency, the protester's attempt to alter those procedures could not be waived as a minor informality. In addition, the protester maintained that the rejection of its bid would result in an increase in the Government's costs. GAO has held that the importance of maintaining the integrity of the competitive bidding system outweighs the possibility that the Government might realize monetary savings in a particular procurement. Accordingly, the prior decision was affirmed.

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