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FAR 4.18:  Commercial and Government Entity Code, Data Universal Numbering System Number

Comptroller General - Key Excerpts

Raymond argues that the award to MPG must be overturned because it was made in the name of an entity that does not exist. Comments at 2-6; Supp. Comments at 2-5, 8-14. In this regard, Raymond points out that the award document--i.e., the standard form (SF) 1449 signed by the contracting officer--lists the awardee as “Parma Fruit MPG West,” rather than MPG West, LLC, and lists an address that is not MPG West, LLC’s address. According to Raymond, no entity named Parma Fruit MPG West is registered in the System for Award Management (SAM), and there is no commercial and government entity (CAGE) code or data universal numbering system (DUNS) number associated with that name. Am. Protest at 11. Also according to Raymond, state corporate records show that no entity is registered under the name Parma Fruit MPG West, as either a stand-alone name or as a tradename. Am. Protest at 11; Comments at 4-5. Finally, Raymond points out that with limited exception, MPG’s proposal did not refer to the offering entity as MPG West, LLC, but instead used names such as “Parma Fruit MPG West, LLC,” “Parma Fruit MPG West,” and “parma fruit MPGwest - GLOBAL.” Comments at 3‑4; Supp. Comments at 2.

The contracting officer responds that the award document lists the CAGE code and DUNS number of MPG West, LLC (as opposed to Parma Fruit MPG West or any other entity), and that the reference therein to “Parma Fruit MPG West” is a clerical error that she will correct after the protest proceeding has concluded. Contracting Officer’s Statement at 6-7. She also states that only one CAGE code and one DUNS number appeared in MPG’s proposal--those of MPG West, LLC--and that it was clear to her from the proposal that MPG West, LLC was the offeror. Id. at 7. Finally, the contracting officer provided a printout showing that prior to the award determination, the agency accessed the SAM database page that confirms that the CAGE code and DUNS number listed in MPG’s proposal are registered to MPG West, LLC. AR, Tab 39, SAM Search Results for MPG, at 2558.

For its part, MPG explains that MPG itself caused the error by inadvertently listing “Parma Fruit MPG West” in the “offeror” box of the completed SF 1449 that it submitted with its proposal. MPG Comments at 4 (citing AR, Tab 15, MPG Proposal (South Korea), at 1054). MPG, points out, however, that it did list “MPG West, LLC” in the “payment” box of the SF 1449. Id. MPG also explains that its use of the name “Parma Fruit MPG West” stems from its relationship with another firm, Parma Fruit, Inc. Id. This relationship was explained in the proposal as follows: “MPG West was established in 2007 in partnership with Parma Fruit to exclusively handle [Department of Defense] business.” AR, Tab 15, MPG Proposal (South Korea), at 1054. Lastly, MPG emphasizes that other than MPG West, LLC, no legally extant entity--Parma Fruit, Inc. or otherwise--was identified as the offeror in the proposal. See id. at 4-5.

Uncertainty as to the identity of an offering entity renders an offer technically unacceptable, since ambiguity as to an offeror’s identity could result in there being no party bound to perform the obligations of the contract. See Raytheon Co., B‑409651, B-409651.2, July 9, 2014, 2014 CPD ¶ 207 at 6; W.B. Constr. & Sons, Inc., B-405874, B-405874.2, Dec. 16, 2011, 2011 CPD ¶ 282 at 4. The information readily available, such as CAGE codes and DUNS numbers, must reasonably establish that differently-identified entities are in fact the same concern. See Intelligent Inv., Inc., B-406347, B-406347.2, Apr. 27, 2012, 2012 CPD ¶ 193 at 4-5; W.B. Constr. & Sons, Inc., supra. As a general matter, the entity awarded the contract should be the entity that submitted the initial proposal. See Raytheon Co., supra; W.B. Constr. & Sons, Inc., supra, at 5.

CAGE codes are assigned to discrete business entities by the Defense Logistics Agency and are used to dispositively establish the identity of a legal entity for contractual purposes. See Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) § 4.1801; Gear Wizzard, Inc., B-298993, Jan. 11, 2007, 2007 CPD ¶ 11 at 2. Similarly, DUNS numbers are established by Dunn & Bradstreet Information Services for purposes of establishing the precise identification of an offeror or contractor. See FAR §§ 2.101, 4.605(b); URS Group, Inc., B-402820, July 30, 2010, 2010 CPD ¶ 175 at 4. CAGE codes and DUNS numbers are used to identify the entity that is the offeror for a given procurement. See W.B. Constr. & Sons, Inc., supra.

Here, Raymond has not sufficiently established that there is ambiguity regarding MPG’s identity that could result in no party being bound to perform the obligations of the contract. While it is true, as Raymond points out, that MPG’s proposal referred to the offering entity using various--albeit similar--names, the record reflects that the proposal listed only one CAGE code and only one DUNS number: those of MPG West, LLC. As stated above, CAGE codes and DUNS numbers dispositively establish the identity of a legal entity for contractual purposes. Further, although the award document includes an errant name and address for the awardee, it identifies the legal entity that is bound to perform the contractual obligations by listing the only CAGE code and the only DUNS number that appeared in the proposal. Finally, the contracting officer and MPG have stated on the record that MPG West, LLC was understood to be the intended offeror. See Contracting Officer’s Statement at 6-7; MPG Comments at 4. Given these circumstances, we find that the record is sufficiently clear to show that MPG West, LLC was the offeror and the awardee, and that MPG West, LLC is bound by the obligations of the contract. Raymond’s claim regarding the identity of the awardee is denied.  (Raymond Express International, LLC B-409872.3, B-409872.4, B-409872.5: Sep 11, 2015)  (pdf)

Comptroller General - Listing of Decisions

For the Government For the Protester
Raymond Express International, LLC B-409872.3, B-409872.4, B-409872.5: Sep 11, 2015.  (pdf)  

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