What are federal contractors supposed to do when FedBid (now Unison) requests additional information related to a proposal and the awarding agency ignores that information in its awarding decision?
In BCW Group, LLC, B-417209, 2019 WL 1398813 (Comp. Gen. Mar. 27, 2019), BCW protested the Department of Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs’ award to another offeror. The award was the result of a reverse auction conducted by FedBid, on behalf of the agency.
The reverse auction was for work related to procurement, installation, and maintenance of Promethean ActivPanels, or other similar products. BCW’s bid included a general verification that it complied with “all terms listed by the Buyer[,]” but the bid did not specifically state that it included the required one-year maintenance. At the close of the reverse auction, a representative of FedBid reached out to BCW asking the following:
Is your bid price correct, complete (meaning all items requested are included in your bid) and inclusive of all costs the Buyer would incur if your bid is selected?
In response, BCW confirmed that the price included, among other things, “once a year maintenance for 3 years on the panels I install.”
The agency subsequently reviewed the five submitted bids and chose a different offeror because BCW’s offer, although lower priced, did not specifically mention the required maintenance. The agency did not review the exchange between FedBid and BCW, where BCW confirmed that maintenance was included in its offer, because the contracting officer was “not aware that FedBid” had the post-bid exchange with BCW regarding the maintenance issue. BCW protested that its lower priced bid should have been accepted because it met the procurement requirements.