[Protest of Park Service Decision To Permit Bid Correction]

B-209870: Mar 22, 1983

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A firm protested a National Park Service decision to permit a low bidder to correct a mistake in its bid submitted under a solicitation for repairs to the National Visitor Center. The protester contended that the agency should have rejected the bid as nonresponsive. Prior to award, the low bidder noted a mistake in its bid price and requested correction. On review of the worksheets, the Park Service concluded that convincing evidence existed to establish both the mistake and the intended bid. Thus, the bidder was permitted to increase its bid. After correction, the bid remained low and that bidder was awarded the contract. The protester argued that the Park Service had compromised the procurement process by permitting the correction. Since the low bidder did not take exception to any solicitation provision, GAO found that its bid was responsive and that the mistake did not render it nonresponsive. GAO stated that, if a bidder makes a mathematical or clerical error, relief is available in certain circumstances. GAO recognized that the correction of mistakes after bid opening does compromise the integrity of the competitive system to an extent. However, if the proper procedures for bid correction are followed, the Government should have the benefit of a corrected bid if it is still low. Since the protester presented no legal basis for rejecting the responsive bid, the protest was denied.

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