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.
One might think that when an electronic proposal is received by a government server before the solicitation’s deadline, the proposal isn’t late. A government server is under government control, so the proposal is timely, right?
Not necessarily, at least the way the GAO sees it. As one contractor recently learned, waiting until the last minute to submit a proposal electronically carries significant risk that the proposal will not be considered timely, even if the proposal reaches the government server in time.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Even if a proposal arrives in a government mailroom by the submittal deadline, the proposal is nevertheless “late” if it does not reach the location specified in the solicitation by the designated time.
In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO reaffirmed long-standing precedent that “receipt of a bid or proposal at a mailroom or other receiving area does not constitute receipt at the location specified in the RFP, provided the agency has established reasonable procedures to ensure that mailed bids or proposals are routed from the mailroom to the location designated in a solicitation for receipt.”