Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of the Air Force
Disposition: Protest denied.
Under brand name or equal solicitation, protester’s quotation was properly rejected where the protester failed to demonstrate that its product satisfied the salient characteristics and other requirements set forth in the solicitation.
General Counsel P.C. Highlight:
ADM argues that its quotation was lower-priced than the awardee’s quotation and should have been selected for the delivery order. However, ADM does not dispute that its revised quotation failed to include the information required by the RFQ. GAO states that when reviewing a protest against the propriety of an evaluation, it is not GAO’s function to independently evaluate quotations and substitute its judgment for that of the contracting activity. Rather, GAO will review an evaluation to ensure that it was reasonable and consistent with the evaluation criteria in the solicitation and applicable procurement statutes and regulations.
Regarding the agency’s evaluation of dimensional and density information provided by the protester, the RFQ required vendors to quote a product with “[t]otal carpet thickness including backing: Within 0.68 thru 0.75 [inches].” The RFQ also required a carpet density of “[m]ore than 3,000 ozs/yd3,” and a backing density of “18 lbs. per cubic foot.” In its revised quotation, ADM indicated that it would provide a carpet and backing with a total thickness of “MAXIMUM .75.” ADM did not indicate a minimum thickness, or a density for its offered carpet or backing. The agency concluded that ADM quotation did not demonstrate compliance with the RFQ’s requirements, where it failed to specify a minimum thickness of at least .68 inches, and failed to provide density information.
ADM argues that its revised quotation should not have been found unacceptable for failure to provide required information in its revised quotation because the missing information was provided in its initial quotation, and its offered product had not changed. GAO states that first, where an agency has amended an RFQ and solicited revised quotations, there is no basis for an agency to rely on information submitted in an initial quotation submitted in response to the initial RFQ to demonstrate compliance with the amended RFQ. Second, while ADM did submit a specific thickness measurement and carpet density information in its initial quotation, this information was not “the manufacturer’s issued catalog data or signed features,” as required by the amended RFQ. In response to the amended RFQ, requiring verified data, ADM submitted only a maximum thickness dimension, and manufacturer’s catalog data indicating average density as “N/A.” Given ADM’s failure to provide the required information in its revised quotation, GAO sees nothing unreasonable in the agency’s conclusion that ADM’s quotation was unacceptable. The protest is denied.