Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of Energy
Disposition: Protest denied.
Agency reasonably evaluated and rejected the protester’s quotation as technically unacceptable where the protester submitted an ambiguous quotation that failed to comply with a material specification requirement in the solicitation.
General Counsel P.C. Highlight:
4D challenges the evaluation and rejection of its quotation as technically unacceptable for failing to comply with the RFQ specification requiring a minimum sustained bandwidth for the system of 4 Mbps. 4D complains that had the agency considered its quotation in its entirety, the agency would have concluded that its quoted system satisfied the referenced RFQ specification. GAO states that in reviewing protests of an agency’s evaluation, GAO does not reevaluate vendors’ quotations; rather, it reviews the record to ensure that the agency’s evaluation was reasonable and consistent with the terms of the solicitation. Clearly stated solicitation technical requirements are considered material to the needs of the government, and a quotation that fails to conform to such material terms is technically unacceptable and may not form the basis for award. A vendor is responsible for affirmatively demonstrating the merits of its quotation and risks the rejection of its quotation if it fails to do so. Here, GAO finds that the agency reasonably evaluated and rejected 4D’s quotation as technically unacceptable.
As stated above, the RFQ required a vendor to show how [its] system [would] meet the requirements of the specification. 4D failed to unambiguously demonstrate that its quoted system would satisfy the RFQ’s minimum sustained bandwidth specification of 4 Mbps. Again, in one part of its quotation, 4D stated that there would be sustained data rates of [deleted] Mb/s, while in other parts of its quotation, 4D offered to comply with the referenced specification. In light of these inconsistent statements in its quotation, GAO believes that the agency could, and did, reasonably conclude that it was not clear from the face of 4D’s quotation that its quoted system would satisfy the RFQ’s minimum sustained bandwidth specification and, as a result, 4D’s quotation was reasonably evaluated and rejected as technically unacceptable. Moreover, 4D’s statements of compliance with the RFQ specification were not sufficient, and did not otherwise cure, the inconsistent statements in its quotation. On this record, GAO has no basis to question the agency’s actions. The protest is denied.