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GAO Sustains Small Disadvantaged Businesses’ Protest – Agency Shouldn’t Reject Bid Due to Inactive SAM Registration

By Shiva Hamidinia

December 23, 2020

GAO recently sustained a Puerto-Rico Disadvantaged Small Business’ protest challenging the rejection of its bid because it’s SAM registration was expired at the time of bid submission.

GAO held that compliance with SAM registration requirements are matters of bidder responsibility, not responsiveness.  As such, the agency should not have rejected the bid.  FAR 14.405 requires agencies to provide bidders an opportunity to cure immaterial defects in a bid that can be corrected or waived without prejudicing other bidders.  A defect is immaterial when it has a negligible effect on price, quantity, quality, or delivery.  GAO found that contractors’ annual SAM representations and certifications fell within the category of minor or immaterial defects that the bidder should have been allowed to correct.

If you have questions regarding this decision, please contact Shiva Hamidinia at or 202-846-9829.

About the author:

Shiva helps high growth government contractors win, keep, and successfully perform projects.  When litigation is necessary to achieve clients’ objectives, Shiva efficiently navigates matters through state and federal courts in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia, the Boards of Contract Appeals, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, and the Federal Circuit.


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