[Protests of Contract Award to Any Other Firm Under Interior Solicitation]

B-213955,B-213955.2: Mar 9, 1984

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Two firms protested contract award to any other firm under a Department of the Interior solicitation. At issue was the legal sufficiency of the low bidder's surety bond which named a principal that differed from the one on its bid. The second low bidder contended that the low bidder's offer should have been rejected as nonresponsive because of the discrepancy between its surety bond and its bid. The low bidder argued that the names and signatures on its surety bond were to establish personal as well as corporate guarantorship and that any discrepancy was a minor informality that could be corrected without prejudice to the other bidders. GAO has consistently held that a bid containing a surety bond that names a principal other than the one on the bid is materially deficient and must be rejected as nonresponsive. Further, the responsiveness of a bid must be determined at the time of opening. Accordingly, the low bidder's protest was denied, the second low bidder's protest was sustained, and the second low bidder should receive the award if otherwise proper.

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