We all know that failure to submit your bid proposal on time typically results in rejection. And the list of exceptions to this “late is late” rule is very short, providing only four notable exceptions: (1) an offeror has acceptable evidence of government control of a proposal; (2) an offeror can establish a systemic failure of government procedures resulting in multiple instances of lost information; (3) if electronically submitted, a proposal was received by government infrastructure by 5:00 p.m. one working day prior to the proposal submission date; and (4) if there is only one offeror. But what if you submitted your proposal on time and the agency’s server rejects the submission without bothering to inform you? And what if the basis for rejection was an undisclosed limitation within a server on email size? Does such delay qualify as an exception to the “late is late” rule? The answer depends on which forum you ask.
By Laura Durity
A well-known adage advises: “To be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late, to be late is unacceptable.” Too often, however, this warning goes unheeded by contractors submitting proposals. Despite countless graphic illustrations of the consequences of missed deadlines, contractors continue to submit proposals within minutes of deadlines. Given that agencies, in accordance with FAR 52.215-1(c), will reject late proposals out of hand with very few exceptions, cutting it too close can be a big mistake.