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I am working on an RFQ where 5 quotes were submitted, and we are within a day or so of award. A vendor has been selected based on the lowest price, and the business clearance has been approved by the CO. Then, one of the vendors who was not the apparent lowest contacted me this morning and stated that his quote had a mistake where he included an extra option year into his price. A review of the contractor's quote backed that up, the untitled quote was added below the titled quotes.

My question is: Is it appropriate to allow the vendor who made the mistake to correct his error? If we did not allow the vendor to correct his error, would the other vendor who we though had the lowest price be likely to win a protest against the Government?

My belief, based on research on the GAO website is that we should allow the vendor to correct his mistake and redirect the award to the actual lowest priced vendor, the one who corrected his quote. Am I wrong in that belief?

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Are you using simplified acquisition procedures? If so see FAR 13.106-2(B)(1). You may want to consider following the procedures at FAR 14.407-2 Apparent clerical mistakes or FAR 14.407-3 Other mistakes before the award. Cannot say for sure what avenue to take without additional information but this gives you a place to start.

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My belief, based on research on the GAO website is that we should allow the vendor to correct his mistake and redirect the award to the actual lowest priced vendor, the one who corrected his quote. Am I wrong in that belief?

Based upon your facts, you are correct to assume that GAO would deny the protest. Be sure to document your file with a memorandum providing the facts, your analysis, and a conclusion.

If your action is not exempt from GAO protest under FAR 16.505 (a) (10), let me suggest that you think about my belief that one should seek to deter a protest as well as to defend it. If time and the complexity of proposal evaluation permits, contact the 5 firms or contact the firms with whom you would hold exchanges if you were inclined to do so. Request revised quotes and provide a common due date and time for submission of revisions. It should take only a day or 2.

The advantage is that you deny a potential protestor its key argument – there was no mistake and there were discussions with a single competitor. When the potential protestor recognizes this, the contractor will be much less likely to protest. By deterring the protest, you save the time and effort associated with preparing and filing your protest report. Another advantage is that you avoid a delay in delivery of goods or performance of services associated with a suspension tied to the protest to the GAO.

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Does the vendor who was initially selected for award know that she or he was selected ?

Had you contacted the vendor with the error to tell them they had lost ?

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Guest Vern Edwards

I am working on an RFQ where 5 quotes were submitted, and we are within a day or so of award.

How do you make an "award" based on a quote? Don't you mean that you'll make an offer based on the quote? Or request an offer based on the quote?

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Vern,

I misspoke about the quote leading to an award, the misuse of terms in my office has started to bleed over into my own writing unfortunately.

Brian,

Yes, as the vendor who quoted the lowest price was told by the manufacturer (who was in contact with all the other vendors as well) who had the lowest price. The lowest vendor all but asked when his award would be issued when he called to ask for the status of the souce selection.

To all,

An interesting twist came up yesterday, after reviewing the quote in question and the other quotes, I was unable to substantiate that the quote indeed had a "mistake". The quote actually was structured properly, had the correct number of items quoted, and matched all the other quotes in how the product and maintenance were quoted. I contacted the vendor and asked him to substantiate the "mistake' he claimed. I also reminded him that if his mistake was allowed to be corrected, the award would be issued to his company and they would be responsible for performance at those prices as it was a FFP requirement.

The contractor waffled at that point, and said he would make sure that his mistake was really a mistake and would call me back. He did so a few hours later and admitted that his original quote was correct and that his claimed mistake was in error.

At the end, this was an interested case study that meant nothing, we are exactly where we were before the contractor emailed us with his mistake. Thanks to everyone for their imput, and for helping me see this from an outside viewpoint.

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