[Protest of NIE Contract Award]

B-213464: Mar 27, 1984

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An educational laboratory protested a National Institute of Education (NIE) contract award for an adult literacy project, contending that NIE gave an erroneous percentage figure as to the amount the protester's bid exceeded the Government estimate which resulted in the protester's offering a significantly higher price than the awardee, and prevented it from competing on an equal basis. The protester argued that it should have been given the opportunity to revise its best and final offer in line with the true mathematical percentage involved. NIE admitted that it erred in its cost proposal discussions. However, NIE felt that, if the mistake had not occurred, award might not have gone to the protester since the protester's technical proposal might have been weaker if it had lowered its cost. GAO found that, by using erroneous cost figures, NIE caused the protester to submit a significantly higher revised cost proposal than it otherwise would have submitted. Accordingly, GAO found that NIE did not provide the protester with an equal opportunity to revise its cost proposal and that the error materially prejudiced the protester. Therefore, the protest was sustained. Nevertheless, given the performance status of the contract, GAO could not recommend that the offerers be given the opportunity to submit new proposals based on the correct percentages.