[Protest of Basis of Bid Evaluation]

B-209607: May 24, 1983

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A firm protested against the manner in which the Defense Logistics Agency evaluated bids under an invitation for bids (IFB) for microfiche equipment. The protester contended that its bid should have been considered on a duty-excluded basis, which would have made it the low bid. The IFB required bidders offering foreign items to include the duty for each offered item in their offered prices, stating that the Government reserved the right to award on a duty-free basis and that cost would be the determining factor for the award. The protester contended that, prior to bid opening, it had been assured verbally by the agency that its bid would be evaluated on a duty-excluded basis. Later, by mail, it was informed that duty would not be excluded from its bid. Thereafter, the protest was filed which contended that: (1) the protester's original bid included the amount of duty required by the IFB; (2) the IFB required that this amount be deducted from the original bids in evaluation; and (3) since the Government was on notice of the protester's understanding, it must evaluate its bid on a duty-excluded basis. GAO found that, absent anything in the IFB which stated that the contract would be awarded on a duty-free basis, the protester was required to include the duty in its bid. Since the bids were evaluated under Defense Acquisition Regulations which do not provide for the elimination of duty in the evaluation of bids, GAO found that the agency properly evaluated the protester's bid without deduction of the stated duty. The IFB had stated that oral explanations given before the award would not be binding; therefore, the protester relied on verbal agency advice at its own risk. Accordingly, the protest was denied.