[Court Request for Consideration of Protest of GSA Contract Award]

B-213169: Dec 14, 1983

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A firm protested the General Services Administration's (GSA) award of a contract for household furnishings. The protester also sought relief in the U.S. Court of Claims, which requested an advisory opinion from GAO. The protester contended that: (1) contracting officials intended to waive solicitation requirements; (2) by secretly negotiating with other offerers on the basis of relaxed specifications, GSA denied it equal treatment and violated applicable procurement regulations; (3) the short time between a solicitation amendment and the due date for best and final offers made it virtually impossible for offerers to prepare meaningful proposals; and (4) the awardee did not qualify for award because it was not a manufacturer or regular dealer as required by the Walsh-Healey Act. GAO held that: (1) specifications that allegedly are not restrictive enough violate no law or regulation; (2) the discussions that GSA held with other offerers regarding deficiencies in their proposals did not constitute unfair or unequal treatment of the protester; (3) since the protester was aware of changes in the agency's requirements well before they were formalized in the solicitation amendments, the contracting officer's decision not to extend the due date for best and final offers was not arbitrary or capricious; and (4) whether a prospective contractor qualifies as a manufacturer or regular dealer under the Walsh-Healey Act is not for determination by GAO. Accordingly, the protest was denied.

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