[Protest of Secret Service Contract Award]

B-207162: Sep 20, 1982

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A firm protested the award of a contract by the U.S. Secret Service for 1981 brand name motorcycles because the request for proposals (RFP) specified that the motorcycles be 1982 models. The awardee submitted an offer on both the 1981 and 1982 models and was the low offeror on both, the offer on the 1981 models being the lower of the two. After receipt of the offers, the contracting officer decided that the 1981 model was equal to the 1982 model and, therefore, made the award for the 1981 motorcycles. Although the contracting officer attempted to justify the award of the 1981 motorcycles, the RFP was specific that the Government was restricting the procurement to 1982-manufactured models. Once offerors are informed of the criteria against which their offers will be evaluated, the contracting agency must adhere to these criteria or inform all offerors of any changes made in the evaluation scheme. It was improper for the contracting officer to depart from the 1982 requirement without informing all offerors of the departure and giving them an opportunity to submit offers on the 1981 requirement. Accordingly, the protest was sustained, although no remedial action was recommended.