Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Contractor Can't Prove the Government Received its Bid - Loses Bid Protest

DLA (Defense Logistics Agency) issued a solicitation to purchase diesel and aviation fuel. It received 31 proposals by the April 3, 2017 cutoff date. On April 8th, a company named Ghazanfar emailed DLA saying that it had submitted a proposal on March 13th but hand not received any reply or feedback about the process or progress on the proposal.

DLA searched its electronic files but found no evidence that Ghazanfar's proposal had been received. DLA searched the email inboxes and junk email folders of the contracting officer and the contract specialist and found no emails for the dates that Ghazanfar asserted that it sent emails. DLA also had its IT specialist search the mailboxes as well as the correlating message tracing logs, but found no evidence of emails from Ghazanfar.

So, DLA essentially told Ghazanfar, too bad. Ghazanfar filed a bid protest with the GAO. Ghazanfar provided copies of emails it had sent to the contracting officer and contract specialist. It also provided declarations from its deputy CEO and IT officer as well as screenshots demonstrating that the email transmitting the proposal had been sent to the appropriate DLA officials.

The GAO was not at all sympathetic with Ghazanfar's plight. GAO stated that it is an offeror's responsibility to deliver its proposal to the proper place at the proper time. The protester has the burden of showing that it timely delivered its proposal to DLA.

The record shows that Ghazanfar failed to establish that its proposal was actually delivered to and therefore received by DLA. Although the protester has provided evidence that it sent its proposal to DLA in a timely manner and that a copy of the transmittal email was received internally at Ghazanfar, this evidence does not demonstrate that DLA in fact received the proposal.

Although neither DLA nor Ghazanfar were able to explain what happened to the emails containing Ghazanfar's proposal, ultimately Ghazanfar failed to satisfy its burden of showing that it timely delivered its proposal to DLA.

Not sure why companies keep protesting these non-receipt of proposals by the Government. They never win because ultimately it is the offerors' responsibility to ensure the proposal was received. Why not just pick up the phone and make an inquiry? Its as easy as that.

You can read the full bid protest decision here.

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