Protest of Bid Rejection and Cancellation of IFB

B-205962,B-205962.2,B-205962.3: May 18, 1982

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The low bidder under an invitation for bids (IFB) protested the Army's refusal to award it a contract after the expiration of its 30-day bid acceptance period. A second firm protested the cancellation of the solicitation and the Army's finding that its bid was unreasonably priced. The protester had offered the 30-day bid acceptance period despite the fact that the IFB requested a 60-day period. Although the contracting officer originally requested the firm to extend its acceptance period, he subsequently determined that, because of a recent GAO decision, it would be unfair to other bidders that offered the 60-day period if the protester were permitted to extend its 30-day period. GAO has held that a bidder offering less than the requested period cannot be allowed to extend that period either before or after its expiration where other bidders offered the longer acceptance period, because the bidder offering a shorter acceptance period than requested has not assumed as great a risk of price or market fluctuations as have bidders that offered the requested acceptance period. Prior advice which the protester received concerning the extension of a shorter-than-requested acceptance period was of no consequence and could not estop the Government from properly rejecting the protester's bid in this case. Concerning the second firm's protest, GAO found that a Government employee and his wife owned and were the officers of the firm. Federal Procurement Regulations state that no agency knowingly shall enter into a contract with employees of the Government or a business organization that is substantially owned or controlled by Government employees except for the most compelling reasons. Since other firms could meet the Army's needs for this product, the bid was properly rejected without regard to the bid price. Accordingly, the protests were denied.