[Protest of Bid Bond Requirement in IFB]

B-212172: Sep 15, 1983

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A firm protested the requirement for a bid bond in an invitation for bids (IFB) issued by the Air Force for shelf-stocking and related custodial services. The protester contended that the IFB bond requirement was unfair to small business because it restricted competition by adding an extra cost for a small business to compete in the procurement. The Air Force asserted that the protester lacked the necessary interest to be regarded as an interested party because it was the sixth low bidder. However, GAO considered the protester's claim because the requirement was a material one. GAO found the protester's claim to be without merit because the contracting agency has discretion to determine whether the need exists for such a requirement. A bid bond was considered necessary because the contractor would be handling Government property and because the agency considered the shelf-stocking service essential to the military base's operation. Accordingly, the protest was denied.

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