Protest Against Agency Refusal To Accept Bid Modification

B-199141: Dec 16, 1980

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A company protested the proposed award of a contract by the Department of the Navy. The protester complained that a telegraphic modification to its bid was designated improperly by the agency as late and excluded from consideration. The Navy argued that it had adopted appropriate means for the receipt and delivery of telegraphic bid modifications given the volume of daily communications processed through the facilities which handled the protester's modification. GAO concluded that the Navy has instituted reasonable measures for the receipt and processing of urgent telegraphic messages given the daily volume of messages involved. Consequently, GAO agreed that only telegraphic bids which can be recognized as bids from scanning the headings of the involved messages are required to be processed in an expedited fashion. Since the protester did not use the address prescribed in the invitation for bids, it was not the Navy's fault that the protester's modification was not processed through the primary means designated for rapid transmission of urgent telegraphic messages. GAO could not conclude that the modification was mishandled under the procedures used for routine messages even though it took more than 5 hours for the message to be delivered. Therefore, the late modification was properly excluded from consideration. Also, the protester contended that the Navy received its bid modification on the day prior to bid opening. Based on the contracting officer's analysis, GAO could not conclude that the Navy actually received the modification on the day prior to bid opening. Finally, the protester contended that the Navy was negligent in permitting the company only 1 day to respond to the amendment. The company's protest was not received until 5 months after the amendment was given. Bid protest procedures require that a protest be filed within 10 working days after the basis for the protest is known. Thus, this ground of the protest was untimely and not considered on the merits. Accordingly, the protest was denied in part and dismissed in part.