Protest of Army Award to Low Bidder

B-206810.2: May 10, 1982

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An incumbent firm protested any award to the awardee under an Army invitation for bids (IFB) to provide food services. The IFB was set aside for small business concerns. The protester contended that the awardee did not meet the small business size standard listed in the IFB and that its bid price was too low to permit the awardee to perform the contract requirements. The protester argued that the awardee had an unfair competitive advantage because, through a protest that the awardee filed with the Small Business Administration (SBA) against the protester's size status with respect to another solicitation, the awardee learned what the protester's total receipts were under the prior contract. GAO held that: (1) it does not have authority to determine small business size status for Federal procurements; (2) the allegation that the bid price was too low to permit satisfactory performance does not provide a valid basis to challenge an award to a bidder that is determined to be responsible; and (3) the incumbent's protest that another bidder gained an unfair competitive advantage under the solicitation for the new contract was denied since such information is generally available to the public, and both parties had the same opportunity to offer prices for the current contract based on knowledge of prior contract prices and receipts. Accordingly, the protest was dismissed in part and denied in part.

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