BOARD OF CONTRACT APPEALS U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE WASHINGTON, DC 20401 In the Matter of ) ) the Appeal of ) ) DANIELS PRESS, INC. ) Docket No. GPOBCA 18-95 Jacket No. 537-944 ) Purchase Order F-7469 ) For the Appellant: Daniel Press, Inc., Birmingham, Alabama by Herman Lorenz, pro se. For the Government: Kerry L. Miller, Esq., Associate General Counsel, U.S. Government Printing Office. Before BERGER, Ad Hoc Chairman. DECISION AND ORDER Daniels Press, Inc. (Appellant), 1720 Avenue D, Ensley, Birmingham, Alabama, appeals the final decision of U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO or Respondent) Contracting Officer John M. Edridge rejecting 11,000 copies of a 12-page publication printed by the Appellant under Purchase Order 97169 (Jacket 378-416) and imposing a price reduction. For the reasons that follow, the Contracting Officer's decision is AFFIRMED and the appeal is DENIED. . I. BACKGROUND 1. On August 1, 1994, GPO, utilizing small purchase procedures, awarded the contract to the Appellant. The contract called for the printing of 20,000 copies of the Summer 1994 issue of a 12- page quarterly publication for the Air Force Quality Institute (AFQI). The purchase order specified that the publication was to have saddle stitch binding. Rule 4 File, Tab A.1 2. The Appellant delivered the product later that month, with 9,000 copies going to the Air Force Publishing Distribution Center in Baltimore and 11,000 going to AFQI at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, as required by the purchase order. 3. The Air Force customer activity found the publications to be unacceptable. According to a memo from the publication's senior editor, every copy inspected was "seriously flawed"; poor paper quality, crooked print, and irregular paper cuts were identified as "just few of the problems." Rule 4 File, Tab B. GPO was then sent a Notice of Quality Defects, dated September 9, 1994, which specified several defects, including hickies or spots, extraneous marks, non-matching color, trim, and wrinkles. The Notice also stated that "Pages 3, 4, 5, and 6 were tipped in. This is unacceptable." Rule 4 File, Tab C. 4. On January 9, 1995, GPO advised the Appellant that it had received a complaint, that it was investigating, and that it would advise further upon completion of the investigation. 5. On March 10, GPO inspected the AFQI shipment and, based on a random sample of 32 copies, determined that each contained binding stubs, which in the inspector's judgment made the entire shipment rejectable. Rule 4 File, Tab E. (The Respondent explains that the inspection stopped after a sufficient number of defects were identified that justified rejection, so that all of the defects complained of by the Air Force were not investigated. Respondent's Brief at 2.) 6. On that same date, the Contracting Officer sent to the Appellant a contract modification reducing the contract price by $1,542.75. The modification stated that the reduction was in "consideration" for the Government's acceptance of (9,000) copies (those sent to Baltimore, which were distributed) that were defective, and that the reduction was "for the unused portion of 11,000 copies." Rule 4 File, Tab G. Two defects were identified: pages 3, 4, 5, and 6 were "tipped,"2 and there were roller pressure marks down the right side of each page. 7. On March 20 the Appellant wrote to the Contracting Officer, asserting that the product was not "tipped" and that the specifications did not preclude the use of binding stubs. The Appellant conceded the presence of roller marks, but argued that a 55 percent price reduction for what was otherwise a usable product was excessive. Rule 4 File, Tab H. The Contracting Officer affirmed the modification in a final decision dated April 3, Rule 4 File, Tab J, and this appeal followed.3 II. DISCUSSION There are two issues presented by this appeal. The first is whether the Respondent properly rejected 11,000 copies of the publication printed and delivered by the Appellant. The second is whether, assuming rejection was proper, the price reduction was appropriate. As discussed below, the Board finds for the Respondent on both issues. The Government is entitled to require strict compliance with its contract specifications. Shepard Printing, GPOBCA 23-92 (April 29, 1993), slip op. at 19, 1993 WL 526848. It asserts here that the presence of binding stubs is contrary to the specifications because the use of binding stubs is inconsistent with saddle stitch binding, with the result that the stubs constitute two additional pages in what is supposed to be a 12-page publication and that these pages, being blank and smaller than the specified trim size of 8-1/2 x 11 inches, constitute defects under GPO's Quality Assurance Through Attributes Program (QATAP), GPO Pub. 310.1, effective May 1979 (Rev. 1996), the then current version of which was incorporated into the contract by reference.4 The Board has already ruled, however, after an exhaustive analysis of the issue, that under a specification for binding not materially different from the one used in this case binding stubs were not prohibited and GPO therefore could not properly reject a product simply because of the presence of those stubs. See Custom Printing Co., GPOBCA 28-94 (March 12, 1997), slip op., 1997 WL 128720, aff'd, GPOBCA 28-94 (July 10, 1997), slip op., 1997 WL 742505. The Board sees no reason to revisit the matter here. That leaves the other basis for rejection-the presence of roller marks.5 These pressure mark indentations run the length or most of the length of the right edge of each page of the publication. The Respondent asserts that even though the GPO inspection report dealt only with binding stubs, the presence of these roller marks also makes the publications rejectable. In this regard, the Respondent has furnished a declaration from the GPO inspector stating that "each of the samples I inspected also contained roller pressure marks along the right side of each page," points out that the Contracting Officer specifically cited this defect in the modification reducing the purchase order amount, and notes that the marks are evident from a visual inspection of 13 samples of the publication that have been provided to the Board. In Custom Printing Co., supra, the Board noted that at the hearing in that case the contracting officer identified a QATAP basis for rejecting the printed product in addition to the one on which he had relied in making his final decision. The Board stated that it was only concerned with the "issues and facts as they existed at the time of the final decision, and not with those that may have arisen subsequently." Id. at 28 n.43. Here, notwithstanding that the inspection report dealt only with binding stubs, the Contracting Officer's decision encompassed both the binding stubs and the roller marks, and the Appellant does not dispute the presence of the roller marks. In such circumstances, the fact that the inspection report does not provide a basis for rejection does not preclude rejection if the product is otherwise nonconforming. See Shepard Printing, supra, at 19, 22 (inspection report applying QATAP assessment on the basis of one defect was unreliable but rejection was nonetheless proper because of the presence of another defect relied on by the contracting officer and not disputed by the appellant). The Respondent suggests that the publications are rejectable because of the roller marks in light of QATAP attributes F-8, Damaged Pages, and F-9, Damaged Edges. Damaged pages are defined as connected or torn pages and as those with wrinkles radiating from the fold or dog-ears and wrinkles greater than 1/8 inch in width; damaged edges are described, by way of example, as untrimmed edges which are feathered, ragged, or burred. QATAP 38, 40. Neither seems applicable to the case at hand. However, attribute P-2, Extraneous Marks, is explicitly applicable. Extraneous marks are "undesirable marks which are not hickies or spots. Examples are lines due to plate scratches, scumming tinting, [and] wheel marks . . . . " QATAP 6. There are two categories of extraneous marks. Category 1 encompasses marks readable on a densitometer. Category 2 marks are those that "do not fall in Category 1. Examples are roller marks, gear marks . . . . " Id. Category 2 marks are classified as either light marks (measuring less than .10 square inch in total area), medium marks (measuring between .010 and .020 square inch in total area), or heavy marks (measuring greater than .020 square inch per total area). Id. For the Level III Product Quality Level that was specified for this contract, 4 demerits are assessed for light marks, 20 demerits for medium marks, and 100 demerits for heavy marks. Id. at 7. These demerits are assessed by page; if the average demerit level per page exceeds 4, the item is assessed a major defect. QATAP x. It is clear from the samples furnished to the Board that most of the pages in each copy of the publication have roller marks that exceed .020 square inch in total area. As a result, under the QATAP assessment scheme, each item (copy) is properly viewed as having a major defect. When major defects exceed 6.5 per hundred items, the lot is unacceptable and subject to rejection. QATAP xi. Since all samples examined had this major defect, the lot was rejectable. When a shipment is rejectable, the Contracting Officer has the option of rejecting it or accepting it and imposing an equitable reduction in the price. QATAP xi, 2, 45 et seq. Although the contract modification made reference to "consideration for accepting a product not in strict accordance with the specifications," it is clear that the Contracting Officer did not impose an equitable price reduction for the 9,000 copies that were sent to the Air Force Publishing Distribution Center and disseminated, but rejected the 11,000 copies sent to AFQI and imposed a pro rata price reduction of 55 percent, representing the cost of those 11,000 copies, in light of that rejection. Since the Government has the right to recapture the purchase price it paid for rejected goods, National Bag Corp., GSBCA 4331, 77-2 BCA ¶ 12,664, the reduction of the purchase order price by $1,542.75 was appropriate. III. ORDER The decision of the Contracting Officer is AFFIRMED and the appeal is DENIED. It is so Ordered. September 23, 1998 Ronald Berger Ad Hoc Chairman Board of Contract Appeals _______________ 1 The Contracting Officer's appeal file, assembled pursuant to Rule 4 of the Board's Rules of Practice and Procedure, was delivered to the Board on July 26, 1995. It is referred to as the Rule 4 File, with an appropriate Tab letter also indicated. The Rule 4 File consists of 10 tabs identified as Tab A through Tab J. 2 This term commonly is understood to refer to the attaching of sheets of paper by means of an adhesive. The GATF Encyclopedia of Graphic Communications 774 (Graphic Arts Technical Foundation 1998). See Stephenson, Inc., GPOBCA 2-88 (Dec. 20, 1991) slip op. at 6, 7 n.12, 1991 WL 439274. The Appellant did not use adhesive; it did, however, use binding stubs for pages 3, 4, 5, and 6, and it is clear from the record that the term here is a reference to that use. 3 The Appellant has elected to have its appeal decided pursuant to the Small Claims Procedure provided for by Rule 12.1 of the Board's Rules of Practice and Procedure. Under this procedure decisions are to "brief," with "summary findings of facts and conclusions," and shall have no value as precedent and, in the absence of fraud, shall be final and conclusive and may not be appealed or set aside." See Kennedy Graphics, GPOBCA 15-98 (August 21, 1998), slip op. at 1 n.1, 1998 WL ______. 4 The purchase order provided that "GPO Contract Terms (GPO Pub. 310.2), in effect on date of this order, applies. That publication includes Supplemental Specifications, article 1 of which, captioned "Quality," incorporates the QATAP quality requirements. 5 Counsel for Respondent stated at the prehearing conference held on November 7, 1995, that the marks come from "the thing that grips the paper as it goes through the press. Normally it gets trimmed off. . . ."