Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: Global Automotive, Inc.
Agency: Department of the Army
Disposition: Protest Denied.
Agency properly eliminated the protester’s proposal from award consideration where the protester expressly refused to extend its proposal acceptance period as requested and the proposal could not be revived because it would compromise the integrity of the competitive bidding system.
General Counsel PC Highlight:
Global Automotive, Inc. (GAI) protested the award to Global Fleet Sales, LLC (GFS) of a contract for 199 Ford Transit cargo vans for use in Afghanistan. The agency received three proposals by the initial closing date of August 10, which the RFP required to be valid for thirty days. After determining that GAI’s and GFS’s proposals were technically unacceptable, the agency requested responses to address the agency’s concerns. On September 30, the agency requested that they extend their acceptance periods until November 30 to allow for evaluation of proposals; both firms did so. On November 21, the agency requested they extend their acceptance periods to January 30; again, both firms agreed. After revised proposals were received in mid-December, the agency realized that it would not complete the evaluation by the proposal acceptance date of January 30, and so it requested that the offerors extend their acceptance periods to February 29.
GAI refused to extend its acceptance period and reserved the right to raise its price on February 1, and so the CO concluded that GAI would no longer be considered for award. In February, the agency found that the initial quantity of vans required was overstated, and requested that GFS, the sole remaining offeror, agree to a reduction in the number of units without a change in its proposed unit price. During the agency’s reexamination of its requirements and exchanges with GFS, the agency requested three extensions of GFS’s acceptance period, each of which was agreed to by GFS.
The GAO found no basis to sustain the protest, noting that a solicitation’s minimum acceptance period is a material requirement. The GAO rejected GAI’s argument that the agency should have requested it to revive its proposal, on the grounds that such a revival and proposal extension would have compromised the integrity of the competitive bidding system.
In order to remain eligible for award, offerors must agree to agency requests for the extension of proposal acceptance periods. Offerors should agree to these extensions without placing any sort of condition or limitation on their acceptances. Agencies will eliminate a proposal from consideration if its prices are no longer valid, and have no obligation to allow an offeror to revive the proposal should the agency adjust its needs under the requirement following the elimination of that proposal.