GAO: Email Delivery Receipt Didn’t Confirm Proposal Submission

You might think that if you send an email with the delivery receipt option and the delivery receipt comes back, the email was delivered. But when an offeror submits a proposal by email, does a delivery receipt mean that the agency necessarily received the proposal in its inbox?

At least under the facts of one recent GAO bid protest, the answer was “no.” In that case, the GAO held that an email delivery receipt wasn’t sufficient to demonstrate that the agency received the electronic proposal.

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GAO: Late Is Late–Even If Agency Server Malfunctions

You’ve hit send on that electronic proposal, hours before the deadline and now you can sit back and feel confident that you’ve done everything in your power – at least it won’t be rejected as untimely – right?

Not so fast. If an electronically submitted proposal gets delayed, the proposal may be rejected–even if the delay could have been caused by malfunctioning government equipment. In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO continued a recent pattern of ruling against protesters whose electronic proposals are delayed. And in this case, the GAO ruled against the protester even though the protester contended that an agency server malfunction had caused the delay.

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Undisclosed Agency File Size Limit Sinks Offeror’s Proposal

An offeror’s proposal was properly rejected as late because the proposal exceeded the agency’s email file size limit.

In a recent bid protest decision highlighting the importance of not submitting electronic proposals at the last minute, the GAO held that a small business’s proposal was late because the emails transmitting the proposal exceeded 10 MB–even though the solicitation didn’t mention a file size limit.

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Agency Spam Filter Excludes Proposal; Offeror Loses Protest

An agency’s spam filter prevented an offeror’s proposal from reaching the Contracting Officer in time to be considered for award–and the GAO denied the offeror’s protest of its exclusion.

A recent GAO bid protest decision demonstrates the importance of confirming that a procuring agency has received an electronically submitted proposal because even if the proposal is blocked by the agency’s own spam filter, the agency might not be required to consider it.

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GAO: Initial Proposal “Nullified” By Solicitation Amendment

When an initial proposal is nullified by a subsequent solicitation amendment, an offeror must timely resubmit its proposal–or be eliminated from the competition.

As one offeror recently learned, an agency can nullify initial proposals with a solicitation amendment that substantially changes the solicitaton’s terms.  When that happens, an offeror can no longer rely on its initial proposal.

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Reverse Auctions: Last-Second Bid Was “Late”

In a reverse auction, a bid filed literally at the last second was excluded as late, perhaps because the reverse auction system did not process the bid until a few seconds after the deadline.

As a recent GAO protest demonstrates, reverse auctions–by their very nature–encourage last-second bids, but it is the prospective contractor that may pay the price if the reverse auction system does not immediately process a bid.

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Offeror’s Email Proposal “Bounces Back,” Agency Not To Blame

A procuring agency was not at fault when an offeror’s emailed proposal “bounced back” because of the large size of the email.

In a recent decision, the GAO applied the general rule that it is “an offeror’s responsibility to deliver its proposal to the proper place at the proper time” and held that the agency was not to blame when its email server rejected the large email containing the offeror’s proposal.

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