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GAO Decision-Gartner Inc. (B-408933.2,B-408933.3: Feb 12, 2014)

 

Link to the Case:  http://www.gao.gov/products/B-408933.2,B-408933.3


DIGEST (from GAO)

Agency properly considered a late quotation where the RFQ did not contain a late submission provision expressly providing that quotations could not be considered if received after the deadline, and no other offerors were prejudiced.


 

DECISION (from GAO)

Gartner Inc., of Stamford, Connecticut, protests the issuance of a task order to Forrester Research, Inc., of Cambridge, Massachusetts, under Request for Quotations (RFQ) No. 782468, issued by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), for the provision of annual subscriptions for information technology research services. Gartner argues that Forrester's final quotation revision was late and should not have been considered by DISA.

 

We deny the protest.


Commentary:

There are two important points to be made in this case involving an order competed under this GSA FSS BPA.

 

1.  If you do NOT wish to accept late quotes, then ensure your RFQ has a provision explicitly stating you will not.  Absent said provision, GAO has ruled late quotes (in this case late quote revisions) are fair game.

 

2. Terms of art DO matter. We Contracting Officers are so accustomed to using FAR 15 terminology such as “Offers” and “Offerors” it feels strange to replace such terms with “Quotes” and “Quoters.”  However, as shown in this case, the protester attempted to utilize the “offer” term stated in the RFQ in their favor.  The lesson here is never use the term “offer” in an RFQ for Schedule Orders.  For an expanded discussion on ensuring you do not delve into RFP territory see handout f-thinksimplified  in our training reference documents section.

 

3. Some excerpts from the case demonstrating the points made above:

“It is well established that the standard for late proposals does not generally apply to requests for quotations. An RFQ, unlike a request for proposals (or an invitation for bids), does not seek offers that can be accepted by the government to form a contract. Rather, the government’s purchase order represents the offer that the vendor may accept through performance or by a formal acceptance document. DataVault Corp., B-248664, Sept. 10, 1992, 92-2 CPD ¶ 166 at 2. It follows that language in an RFQ requesting quotations by a certain date cannot be construed as establishing a firm closing date for receipt of quotations, absent a late quotation provision expressly providing that quotations must be received by that date to be considered. Instruments & Controls Serv. Co., B-222122, June 30, 1986, 86-2 CPD ¶ 16 at 3.

Gartner argues that the standard for late quotations does not apply in this case because, according to the protester, the solicitation contained language distinguishing it from a typical RFQ. Protester’s Comments on AR, at 13. Gartner cites language in the RFQ indicating that a “contractor agrees that if its offer is accepted within 60 calendar days from the date of receipt of quotations (unless a different period is stated in the quotation), it will furnish the items and/or services identified in its quotation at the cost/price offered to the designated point(s) within the time specified in the schedule.” RFQ at 4. In Gartner’s view, this language in the RFQ advised offerors that the agency was seeking “offers” that could be “accepted” by the government and that, if “accepted,” those “offers” would be binding. Protester’s Comments on AR, at 13.”


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