Protest of Agency Determination That Proposed Product Was Unacceptable

B-202450: Jun 15, 1981

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A firm protested the Defense Electronics Supply Center's award of a contract for replacement film elements to be used in testing equipment. Because there was no technical data defining the required film element, the solicitation listed a brand name part number and invited proposals of alternate film elements that were either identical or functionally, physically, mechanically, and electrically interchangeable with the specified unit. The solicitation also required that offerors proposing alternate units were to furnish drawings and data on the alternate unit and the specified unit for agency verifification of the interchangeability of an alternate unit. Offerors were advised in the solicitation that failure to provide such data could preclude consideration of a proposal. The protester provided data on its proposed alternative but no data on the specified unit. It contended that its unit was interchangeable with the specified unit and that the manufacturer of that unit should verify the interchangeability of its alternative. When the manufacturer notified the agency that the proposed alternate would neither fit nor operate with its test equipment, the protester's proposal was found to be unacceptable. Although the protester claimed that its unit is identical to the specified unit, it did not offer any evidence to challenge the agency's position. When a procuring agency is responsible for evaluating data supplied and ascertaining if it provides sufficient information to determine the acceptabililty of the item offered, GAO will not disturb this determination unless the protester shows it to be unreasonable. The protester also appeared to challenge the solicitation provision requiring it to submit data on the specified unit. Because this requirement was on the face of the solicitation and should have been protested prior to the closing date for receipt of proposals, it was untimely and not for consideration. Accordingly, the protest was denied in part and dismissed in part.