How to Protest the Bid Specifications
What happens when you get an advertisement, and it has errors? Maybe you notice the instructions are vague, there are typos, they are asking for things that aren’t relevant, or they are favorable to one bidder or proposer over another. Well, you can challenge the specifications, but you had better get it in on time.
The point of a specifications challenge is to bring these issue up at the beginning of the process, rather than at the end after everyone has spent a lot of time, effort, and maybe money putting together the proposal. It also helps the advertising agency make corrections that it otherwise may have missed. It also may help you get a more favorable ranking by eliminating any unfair advantages to other bidders or proposers.
Usually the procedure to challenge the specifications is set out in that particular agency’s code. These procedures and deadlines vary though, so be sure to look up the right code.
The most critical thing about a specification challenge is the deadline to file one. For example, under Florida Statutes, a challenge to the specifications must be made within 72 hours after the solicitation is posted. That is a very quick timeframe. If you miss the deadline, you may lose your ability to challenge the specifications. If a proposer finds a problem with the specifications after the deadline has passed, it may be too late to do anything about it.
If the agency does not require specification challenges, a bidder or proposer may be able to challenge them pursuant to the general protest procedures established by the agency.
So be aware whether you have to file a specification challenge, or lose your right to do so, and when that protest is due.