[Protest of INS Rejection of Low Bid as Nonresponsive]

B-219500: Aug 13, 1985

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A firm protested the Immigration and Naturalization Service's (INS) rejection of its low bid as nonresponsive under an invitation for bids (IFB) for building renovation. INS rejected the bid because it failed to list the subcontractors the protester intended to use to perform the work. The protester contended that: (1) the requirement for the listing was hidden in the complex IFB and was a minor informality; and (2) it should be permitted to submit the list as a late modification of an otherwise acceptable bid. The protester also stated that its bid represented a considerable cost savings to the government. GAO found that, if the protester had carefully examined the IFB, it would have noted the requirement, and 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. Although the protester requested a list of responsive bids submitted, INS withheld the bid prices from the report contrary to information disclosure requirements; however, GAO found that the protester was not prejudiced by the nondisclosure. Accordingly, the protest was denied.