[Protest of NASA Bid Rejection]

B-219622: Aug 8, 1985

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A firm protested the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) rejection of its bid as nonresponsive, contending that: (1) it inadvertently included standard commercial terms and conditions which were immaterial and not intended to be part of the bid; (2) it should be permitted to correct the mistake in its bid; (3) NASA should have accepted its revised bid, with the offending standard terms deleted, as a late modification of an otherwise successful bid; and (4) if NASA disqualifies its bid, it will spend at least 10 percent more in awarding the contract to the next lowest bidder. NASA rejected the low bid because it contained the protester's standard free on board (FOB) origin term where the solicitation required delivery on an FOB destination basis. GAO found that: (1) the exception taken to the delivery requirement was a material one affecting the substance of the bid, and the bid therefore was properly rejected as nonresponsive; (2) a mistake-in-bid procedure may not cure a nonresponsive bid; (3) a bid that is nonresponsive may not be corrected after bid opening; and (4) a late modification of a bid may only be accepted if the bid, as originally submitted, is responsive. GAO has held that a nonresponsive bid may not be accepted, even though it would result in savings to the government, because such acceptance would comprise the integrity of the competitive bidding system. Accordingly, the protest was dismissed.