[Protest of Rejection of Bid as Nonresponsive]

B-209193: Mar 15, 1983

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A small business firm protested the rejection of its bid as nonresponsive and the contract award by the Veterans Administration under an invitation for bids (IFB) for consumer-type credit reports covering individual current assets and income. The bidders were required to submit a detailed written procedure as to how street investigations were to be accomplished. Three bids, including the protester's, were rejected as nonresponsive because of inadequately detailed written procedures. The agency report consisted of a copy to the procurement file and a statement that the agency did not necessarily agree with the contracting officer's findings. Neither the IFB nor the agency report explained the purpose of the requirement for bidders to submit their written procedures for street investigations or why the written procedures submitted by the three rejected bidders were needed in the first place. GAO held that an IFB requirement for bidders to submit detailed written procedures as to how they would conduct credit investigations raised the issue of responsibility, rather than of responsiveness, since it concerns how bidders would perform rather than whether bidders would perform in conformity with solicitation. Therefore, the matter should have been submitted to the Small Business Administration. Accordingly, the protest was sustained.

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