[Protests of NOAA Contract Award for Workstations]

B-256702.2,B-256702.3: Sep 9, 1994

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Two firms protested a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) contract award for workstations, contending that: (1) the awardee's product did not meet the solicitation's technical specifications; (2) NOAA improperly waived mandatory technical requirements in order to qualify the awardee's bid; (3) NOAA misled them into offering more expensive products; and (4) they would have offered less expensive products if they had known the actual requirements. GAO held that: (1) NOAA improperly accepted the awardee's bid, since it did not meet the solicitation's technical specifications; (2) NOAA overstated its minimum needs in the solicitation; (3) NOAA was obligated to clearly state its minimum needs to provide a common basis of competition and treat all bidders consistently; and (4) the protesters were prejudiced by NOAA failure to adequately state its minimum needs, since they were willing to reduce their bid prices. Accordingly, the protests were sustained and GAO recommended that NOAA: (1) revise the solicitation and reopen the competition; and (2) reimburse the protesters for their protest costs.

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