[Protest of Bid Rejection]

B-207878: Sep 30, 1982

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A firm protested the rejection of its bid under an invitation for bids (IFB) issued by the Veterans Administration. The protester asserted that its bid was submitted prior to the time specified for receipt of proposals and was improperly rejected as late. According to the contracting officer and the recorder of bids, the protester's representative arrived in the bid opening office 1 minute before bid opening. When the contracting officer announced that it was bid opening time and that no more bids would be accepted for the procurement, the protester's representative opened his briefcase and took out an envelope. By the time he had dropped the envelope on the desk the name and terms of the first bidder had been announced. Procurement regulations provide that: (1) bids received after the exact time set for opening of bids are considered late; (2) a late hand-carried bid shall not be considered; and (3) an oral declaration by the bid opening officer must serve as the criterion for determining lateness in the absence of evidence indicating clearly that the declaration of time was incorrect. Since the protester's assertion that its bid was returned to the proper office 5 minutes before bid opening was not supported by any evidence other than its own statement, GAO concluded that the protester failed to prove that its bid was received on time. Because the protester's bid was still in its representative's possession at the time bid opening was declared, GAO held that it was properly regarded as late. Accordingly, the protest was denied.

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