[Protest of Navy Contract Award for Boat]

B-254428: Dec 15, 1993

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A firm protested a Navy delivery order under a Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) contract for inflatable boats, contending that: (1) the awardee's product did not meet the Navy's length requirement; (2) the Navy misled it into offering a more expensive product; and (3) it would have offered a less expensive product if it had known the Navy's actual needs. GAO held that the: (1) Navy misleadingly described its minimum needs; (2) protester reasonably concluded that the Navy was seeking a larger model; (3) protester's interpretation of the boat length measurement was consistent with Coast Guard regulations and industry practice; (4) Navy was obligated to describe its needs accurately to provide a common basis of competition and treat all bidders consistently; and (5) protester was prejudiced by the Navy's failure to adequately state its minimum needs, since it was willing to reduce its FSS price for its product. Accordingly, the protest was sustained, and GAO recommended that the Navy: (1) not terminate the awardee's contract, since it had already taken delivery; and (2) reimburse the protester for its bid preparation and protest costs.

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