United States Government Printing Office Contract Appeals Board Appeal of Citiplate, Inc. Contractor's Appeal dated June 2, 1983 Decision dated December 20, 1983 Panel 4-83 Thomas O. Magnetti, Chairman Paul D. Brundage, Philip Markett, Jr., Members Preliminary Statement Citiplate, Inc. (hereafter the contractor) has appealed the decision of the Contracting Officer to reject 2,750 aluminum anodized offset printing plates which the contractor had supplied to the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO). The appeal was filed in accordance with the "Disputes" clause of the contract. See Paragraph 12 of the General Provisions, Exhibit 2 of the Appeal File. In its appeal, the contractor contends that the defect in the plates was attributable not to the manufacture of the plates but to the climatic conditions of the area of the GPO where the plates were stored. The GPO Contract Appeals Board has jurisdiction over this appeal pursuant to GPO Instruction 110.10B, entitled "Board of Contract Appeals Rules of Practice and Procedure" and the contract's "Disputes" clause. As the contractor was given the opportunity to have its appeal heard at an informal hearing, but did not so request, this decision is based solely on the record; the Appeal File which contains 15 exhibits. Statement of Facts 1. The specifications for the contract, as set out in the solicitation, called for the production of 30,000 aluminum anodized offset printing plates. Exhibit 2. Section B of the solicitation schedule required that these lithographic plates have a minimum shelf life of one year when stored in a normal dry area in their original and unopened package. Section F required that the plates be equal in all respects to the sample previously approved by the GPO. Exhibit 2. 2. As the contractor submitted the lowest, responsive bid, the contract was awarded to the contractor by issuance of Purchase Order 3293, dated May 11, 1982. Exhibit 2. The plates were delivered in four shipments during June and July 1982. Exhibit 3. 3. In January 1983, the GPO rejected 420 of the plates because some of the plates would not retain an image and others retained lacquer in non-printing areas during the development process. Exhibit 4. These plates were returned to the contractor. Exhibit 5. In March, representatives of the contractor came to the GPO to investigate the complaints regarding the defective plates. The contractor believed that the problem developed because of oxidation caused by the presence of moisture in the storage area. The GPO personnel claimed that the problem was not due to moisture but rather due to the failure of the contractor to coat the plates properly in order to ensure their shelf life. Exhibit 6. The area in which the anodized plates were stored was dry and temperature controlled. Exhibit 10. The GPO stored anodized plates from many manufacturers in that location for longer than one year without such problems occuring. Exhibit 13. 4. On March 31, 1983, the GPO rejected 2,750 anodized plates. Exhibit 8. This action was taken after an inspection of a random sample indicated to GPO personnel that printing images appeared in non-printing areas. Exhibit 7. According to the GPO, this defect rendered the plates unuseable. 5. The contractor responded to this notice of rejection by claiming that that any defect was caused by improper storage not by defective manufacture. Exhibit 9. On May 12, 1983, the Contracting Officer issued a final decision rejecting the 2,750 plates and ordering their replacement. Exhibit 12. 6. This decision was appealed by the contractor on June 2, 1983. Exhibit 1. 7. On June 28, 1983, representatives of both the contractor and the GPO inspected another random sample of the anodized plates. Exhibit 14. The samples were tested by manual and automatic processing. The results of the test indicated that developer was retained on the edges of an unacceptable number of anodized plates. Based upon these test results, the Contracting Officer confirmed his rejection of the plates. Discussion The Government has the right to receive a product which conforms to its specifications. According to the contract, if the product does not conform, the Government has the right to reject the defective goods. Paragraph 5, General Provisions, Exhibit 2. In the instant case, the contract required the production of an anodized plate which complied with the specifications of the contract, was equal in all respects to the sample provided by the contractor, and had a shelf life of one year. Exhibit 2. When GPO personnel inspected the contractor's plates, they discovered that the plates retained developer on their non- printing edges. The retention of the developer in these areas made the plates unsuited for the purposes for which they were intended. Exhibits 7, 8, and 10. Moreover, these defective plates were not equal to the sample plates that had been previously approved by the GPO. Exhibit 12. Even after the contractor filed its appeal, it agreed to further testing. Exhibit 14. The test results indicated that the plates did retain developer on the non-printing edges of the plates. The evidence of record clearly demonstrates that the plates were defective and could not be utilized as intended. Therefore, the plates did not conform with the contract specifications. This conclusion, based as it was on the inspection of random samples, has not been challenged by the contractor. Rather, the contractor attributes the defect to the possibility that there may have been too much humidity in the area in which the plates were stored. The contractor did submit with its letter of appeal a copy of the label that was shipped to the GPO with the plates. The label states that the plates should be stored in a cool, dry place. There were no further instructions or warning provided to the GPO concerning humidity or moisture. The contractor does not provide any evidence that would demonstrate that the storage area was too humid or that the humidity did, in fact, cause the defect. Without such evidence the contractor's mere allegations regarding humidity can not be given any probative weight. The only reference to temperature or humidity in the specifications was on page 7 of the solicitation. Exhibit 2. The specifications required that the plates have a minimum shelf life of one year when stored in a normal dry area in their original and unopened package. There is nothing in the record which would indicate that these plates were stored in other than a "normal dry area." In a letter to the contractor dated April 26, 1983, the Contracting Officer states that the plates were stored in an area that was dry and heated. Exhibit 10. Similar plates from other contractors were stored in the same location without encountering any problem. Exhibit 13. This evidence is uncontroverted by the contractor. The Board finds that the GPO complied with its responsibility under the contract to store the plates in a normal, dry area. Since the specifications called for anodized plates that could be used for at least one year when stored in a dry place and the record indicates that the plates were stored in such an area, there is no evidence that would indicate that the GPO was responsible for the defect in the plates. Having found that the plates were defective, and that the GPO stored the plates in accordance with the contract, the Board finds that the GPO had the right under the contract to reject the 2,750 plates for failing to meet the specifications and order their replacement. Decision Based upon the foregoing analysis, the decision of the Contracting Officer to reject the plates and order replacement is affirmed. Accordingly, the contractor's appeal is denied in its entirety.