[Protest of Forest Service Bid Rejection for Premanufactured Housing Units]

B-216862: Jan 31, 1985

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A firm protested the Forest Service's rejection of its bid under a solicitation for premanufactured housing units. The Service determined that the protester's bid was rendered nonresponsive by a legend on its descriptive literature which reserved the right to change specifications and price after award. The same legend had been included but then crossed out on the literature of the second low bidder, and award was made to it. The protester contended that: (1) the legend was not part of its bid: (2) its bids on past procurements were accepted even though they contained literature with similar legends; (3) the bid opening date was improperly extended; and (4) the awardee did not apply for its dealer's license until after bid opening. Alternatively, the protester contended that the awardee's bid was nonresponsive regardless of the fact that the legend had been struck from its literature. GAO found that: (1) the protester's bid was properly rejected as nonresponsive; (2) since the awardee deleted the legend from its literature, there was no reason to view it as part of the bid; (3) the fact that the Service previously may have accepted bids containing similar legends did not justify repeating such errors; (4) the allegation regarding the extension of bid opening was untimely filed; and (5) the contracting officer was free to make the award without regard to whether the bidder was licensed under local law. Accordingly, the protest was denied in part and dismissed in part.