HIGHER PRICE BID MAY BE WINNER
Although price is an important factor, where the procuring agency rates performance as important, it is proper for the agency to select the higher priced bid. In its October 6, 2009 decision, the GAO affirmed the award of a contract to Riverhawk Marine, LLC, a more expensive bidder than the protester, Commissioning Solutions Global, LLC.
In its request for quotations, the Coast Guard stated that the “award would be made based on the evaluation of past performance and price, with past performance considered to be ‘significantly more important than price.’” Although Riverhawk’s quote was more than $150,000 higher than Commissioning Solutions’, the GAO affirmed the award to Riverhawk since the Coast Guard reasonably gave Riverhawk more points based on its experience. According to the GAO:
In a best value procurement involving the evaluation of past performance and price, agency’s selection of a higher-priced quotation from a vendor that received an “excellent” rating for past performance as compared to the protester, who received a “neutral” rating, was reasonable and consistent with the solicitation, where the agency made reasonable assessments of the relevancy of vendors’ past performance and reasonably determined that the quotation from the vendor with the more relevant performance record was worth the higher price.