BOARD OF CONTRACT APPEALS U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE WASHINGTON, DC 20401 In the Matter of ) ) the Appeal of ) ) VP PRINTING, INC. ) Docket No. GPOBCA 30-96 Jacket No. 752-587 ) Purchase Order H-6490 ) For the Appellant: VP Printing, Inc., South Elgin, Illinois, by Viresh Patel and Pamela Patel, pro se. For the Respondent: Joyce B. Harris, Esq., Assistant General Counsel, U.S. Government Printing Office. Before BERGER, Ad Hoc Chairman. DECISION AND ORDER VP Printing, Inc. (Appellant), 360 Industrial Drive, South Elgin, Illinois, appeals the decision of the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO or Respondent) to terminate for default its contract to print a 1997 course catalog for the Defense Logistics Agency under Jacket 752-587, Purchase Order H6490. It also appeals the assessment of the excess costs of reprocurement. For the reasons which follow, the decisions to terminate for default and assess excess reprocurement costs are AFFIRMED, with the Respondent entitled to excess reprocurement costs to the extent indicated in this decision. I. BACKGROUND 1. On August 9, 1996, the contract, in the amount of $12,845, was awarded to the Appellant through small purchase procedures. The contract called for the delivery of 2,002 catalogs to the Defense Department in Columbus, Ohio by September 4. Rule 4 File, Tab A.1 2. Upon delivery the catalogs were considered to be unacceptable by the customer agency. The ultimate user of the catalogs, the Defense Logistics Agency's Civilian Personnel Support Office, complained about the color, the grainy texture of the covers, poor quality binding, and other matters. Rule 4 File, Tab D. The Defense Printing Service (DPS) then advised GPO telephonically that the catalogs contained the following defects: poor ink quality; scumming; the index for section 2 was printed in blue ink while all other indexes were in black ink; and the perfect binding was damaged.2 Rule 4 File, Tab B. The Appellant was telephonically notified by GPO that the catalogs might have to be reprinted. 3. On September 13 a GPO official inspected the 13 random samples of the catalog and found the catalogs to be rejectable. This official identified the deficiencies as Type Quality and Uniformity; Process Color Match; Conspicuous Single Page Defect (Bubbles in coating of covers); Hickies and Spots; Solid or Screen Tints Color Match; and Extraneous Marks.3 Rule 4 File, Tab D. The Contracting Officer, on that same date, sent the Appellant a "SUSPECT LETTER" identifying these defects (without specifying the nature of the Conspicuous Single Page Defect) and advising that corrective action would be necessary. Rule 4 File, Tab C. 4. On September 16, a representative of the Appellant advised GPO that it would not reprint because it was in the process of moving and had no presses available. He suggested that instead of a reprint the contract price be discounted. Rule 4 File, Tab E. 5. On September 17, the Contracting Officer sought the concurrence of GPO's Contract Review Board (CRB) with terminating the Appellant's contract for default. The Contracting Officer advised the (CRB) of the defects set forth in the September 13 "SUSPECT LETTER" and that the Appellant was unable to reprint because it was moving and had no presses available. The CRB concurred in the default termination. Rule 4 File, Tab F. 6. On September 18 the contract was terminated for default. Rule 4 File, Tab G. The Appellant refused the Respondent's subsequent requests to return films and other Government- furnished material. Rule 4 File, Tabs H, I. 7. Thereafter, GPO, again using its small purchase procedure, sought quotations for a reprocurement contract under Jacket 752-920. The low quotation, for $13,600, was not accepted because the quoter was determined to be nonresponsible. Respondent's Brief (hereafter Resp. Brf.), Atchs. 2, 3. The next low quotation, for $18,596, was rejected because the quoter could not meet the delivery date. Resp. Brf., Atch. 4. The reprocurement contract was awarded on September 30 to Monarch Litho, Inc. at a price of $21,961. Rule 4 File, Tab W. Excess costs of reprocurement in the amount of $9,116 (the difference between the Appellant's contract price and the reprocurement contract price) were assessed against the Appellant on January 2, 1997. Rule 4 File, Tab R. 8. On December 5, GPO's Quality Assurance Section reported that it had examined the 13 random samples and that its inspection results were consistent with the conclusion reached in the earlier inspection report that the catalogs were rejectable. Rule 4 File, Tab P. II. DISCUSSION The Appellant asserts that the Respondent acted in bad faith in rejecting the catalogs and terminating the contract for default. According to the Appellant, the customer agency rejection was based on items that for the specified PQL of 3 were not deficiencies or for which it was not responsible, in part because they resulted from the Government's production specifications. In this regard, the Appellant believes that the Government specified the wrong color for this printing job and simply "looked for other defects" once it decided it didn't want what the Appellant printed. The Appellant also believes that the Respondent is not entitled to assess excess reprocurement costs because the reprocurement contract reflected major changes and thus was essentially "a new job." The Respondent's position is quite simple. It states that the Appellant did not provide a conforming product and refused the Contracting Officer's direction to reprint, either of which is a proper basis for default. It further states that it is entitled to assess excess reprocurement costs against the Appellant because there were only minor changes to the reprocurement contract that had no impact on price and because it complied with the various other elements it must satisfy to be entitled to such costs. The rules governing terminations of contracts for default emanate primarily from contract "default" clauses and applicable regulations. The "Default" clause in GPO contracts provides that the Respondent, by written notice to the contractor, may terminate a contract in whole or in part if the contractor fails to (1) deliver the supplies or perform the required services within the time specified or any extensions thereof; (2) make progress, so as to endanger performance; or (3) perform any other contract provision. GPO Contract Terms, Solicitation Provisions, Supplemental Specifications, and Contract Clauses, GPO Publication 310.2, effective December 1, 1987 (Rev. 9-88) (hereafter GPO Contract Terms), Contract Clauses, ¶ 20. The failure to deliver within the time specified encompasses both a failure to meet the contract delivery schedule and a failure to deliver, in accordance with that schedule, a product that conforms to the specifications. The Standard Register Co., Inc., GPOBCA 25-94 (March 23, 1998), slip op. at 8, 1998 WL 350448. A default termination, however, is a drastic action which may be taken only for good cause and on the basis of solid evidence, with the contracting agency having the burden of proving the basis for the default but with the contractor having the burden of showing that its failure to perform was excusable. Venture, Ltd., GPOBCA 01-96 (September 26, 1997), slip op. at 13-14, 1997 WL 742427; Big Red Enterprises, GPOBCA 07-93 (August 30, 1996), slip. op. at 24-25, 1996 WL 812960; Vanier Graphics, Inc., GPOBCA 12-92 (May 17, 1994), slip. op. at 47-48, 1994 WL 275102. Moreover, because the clause provides that the Government "may" terminate for default when one of the specified grounds for default is present, a default termination is a discretionary act subject to challenge as an abuse of discretion. Darwin Constr. Co. v. United States, 811 F.2d 593 (Fed. Cir. 1987); Schlesinger v. United States, 390 F.2d 702 (Ct. Cl. 1968); Vatex America, GPOBCA 08-96 (October 14, 1998), slip op. at 4, 1998 WL 750866; Artisan Printing Inc., GPOBCA 15-93 (February 6, 1998), slip op. at 8, 1998 WL 149001; Rose Printing, Inc., GPOBCA 32-95 (December 16, 1996), slip op. at 21, 1996 WL 812880. To meet its burden, the Respondent has furnished copies of various documents and the 13 random samples that were inspected. These documents include (1) the Notice of Quality Defects from DPS and a list of problems with the catalog, along with a listing of discrepancies prepared by the Civilian Personnel Support Office (Rule 4 File, Tab D, as supplemented); (2) a plain sheet of paper which the Respondent identifies in its Rule 4 File List of Exhibits as an inspection report and which lists as defects Type Quality and Uniformity, Process Color Match, Conspicuous Page Defect (bubbles in coating of covers), Hickies and Spots, Solid or Screen Tints Color Match, and Extraneous Marks (Rule 4 File, Tab D); (3) a letter dated October 7, 1996 from the Contracting Officer to the Appellant advising that while the examination of the 13 random samples showed defects for Hickies and Spots, Extraneous Marks, and Solid or Screen Tints Color Match, rejection was not based on these attributes, but on Type Quality and Uniformity ("13 books each had a major defect due to broken characters), Process Color Match ("3 books had a major defect due to an objectional shift between the specified standard and the sample causing a definite change of color"), and Conspicuous Single Page Defect ("3 books had a major defect for bubbles in the UV coating") (Rule 4 File, Tab L); (4) a formal inspection report dated December 4, 1996 signed by the Chief of GPO's Quality Assurance Section finding 28 major defects involving broken characters, objectionable color shifts, and bubbles in the cover coatings (Rule 4 File, Tab O); and (5) a December 5, 1996 memorandum from the Chief of the Quality Assurance Section to Respondent's Director, Procurement Services, advising that that Section's inspection produced results consistent with GPO's earlier inspection. The memorandum stated that "[t]he basis for the rejection was primarily the result of poor presswork. The cover contained broken type that varied from sample to sample and the process color match for both cover and text varied from sample to sample." Rule 4 File, Tab P. It is clear from these and other documents that the Government's position with respect to the defects present in the catalogs and the basis for rejecting the catalogs has not been consistent. First, the customer agency's original concerns involved, among other things, color, grainy texture, and poor binding, and the Appellant is very insistent that the primary focus of the initial complaint that was transmitted telephonically by the Respondent was about the color used to print the catalogs. The initial GPO inspection report, however, does not explicitly refer to incorrect color, grainy texture, or poor binding, but instead refers to defects under the Type Quality and Uniformity, Process Color Match, Hickies and Spots, Solid or Screen Tints Color Match, and Extraneous Marks attributes, and to a Conspicuous Single Page Defect (bubbles in the cover coating). These were also the areas identified in the "SUSPECT LETTER" sent to the Appellant, in the memorandum sent to the CRB, and, with the exception of Extraneous Marks, in the termination letter sent to the Appellant. Subsequently, however, the Contracting Officer informed the Appellant that the defects upon which the termination was based did not include Hickies and Spots, Extraneous Marks, and Solid or Color Tints Color Match, and thereafter GPO's Quality Assurance Section found that the catalogs were rejectable without regard to those defects. Second, there are discrepancies regarding the extent of the deficiencies that were used as the basis for the termination. The Contracting Officer's October 7 letter to the Appellant states that all 13 samples had a major defect under Type Quality and Uniformity, but the December 4 inspection report completed by GPO's Quality Assurance Section identifies only 8 major defects, one each for samples 1 through 6 and samples 12 and 13. The October 7 letter states that 3 books had a Process Color Match defect, but the December 4 report identifies 4 books with this defect. The October 7 letter and December 4 report are consistent in that they both reflect 3 major defects under Conspicuous Single Page Defect, but the December 4 report also finds another 13 major defects under Process Color Match because each sample contains a color shift from the "c-prints" on page 1-11. The fact that the defects found by the GPO inspection were different from those as described by the customer agency is of no consequence since the contract is between GPO and the Appellant and it is GPO's findings that are controlling. See French Bray, Inc., GPOBCA 16-96 (August 21, 1998), slip op. at 13, 1998 WL 640415 ("[o]nly the GPO contracting officer has the authority 1/4 to determine that a contractor-furnished product is defective 1/4 and customer agency complaints do not always result in a GPO determination that a product is defective."). Moreover, the fact that a second inspection of the samples was made does not impeach the validity of the first inspection--a second inspection by the Quality Assurance Section can be a helpful tool in verifying the basis for a Contracting Officer decision that a shipment was rejectable. See, e.g., Univex International, GPOBCA 23-90 (July 31, 1995), slip op. at 23, 1995 WL 488438, recon. denied, GPOBCA 23-90 (February 7, 1996), slip op., 1996 WL 112554. What is disturbing, however, are GPO's own shifting bases for rejecting the catalogs and its differing calculations of the number of defects in the 13 sample copies. Such disparities do little to inspire confidence in the uniform application of GPO's QATAP. Nonetheless, what matters ultimately is not whether GPO's documentation is inconsistent, but whether GPO has established a proper basis for rejection of the catalogs and termination of the contract for default. In resolving that question, the Board is concerned with the basis for the Contracting Officer's decision at the time it was made. See Custom Printing Co., GPOBCA 28-94 (March 12, 1997), slip op. at 28 n.43, 1997 WL 128720, aff'd, GPOBCA 28-94 (July 10, 1997), slip op., 1997 WL 742505. Insofar as the record shows, the basis for the Contracting Officer's rejection of the catalogs was the September 13 inspection report. That report is less than a model of clarity. While it identifies defects under six attributes, it appears to rely only on the first three listed attributes as the basis for rejection. It is also difficult to determine from the inspection report alone whether the numbers in the report associated with these first three attributes refer to the number of defects found or to the specific sample number in which a defect was found. Moreover, there is little or no indication of the precise nature of the problems or, for some of the defects, exactly where among the samples the problems were found. In addition, for one of the attributes, Process Color Match, there is no indication of how it was determined that a major defect existed. Under QATAP, there can be a major defect for this attribute only if demerits are assessed for each process color match deficiency and an appropriate Average Demerit Level (ADL) is calculated. QATAP manual at 23; see n.3, supra. The report is completely silent on this point, with no indication of any demerit assessment or calculation of an ADL. While in many cases involving rejection of the contractor's work the Government's burden is essentially met through its furnishing of an inspection report, an inadequate inspection report is not fatal to the Respondent's position where there is other evidence to establish the propriety of rejection and default. Daniels Press, Inc., GPOBCA 18-95 (September 23, 1998), slip op. at 5, 1998 WL 750875; Shepard Printing, GPOBCA 23-92 (April 29, 1993), slip op. at 19, 22, 1993 WL 526848; see Mozip Sign Co., supra, at 5. Here, while the Board is unable, on the basis of the September 13 inspection report alone, to determine that the Respondent properly rejected the catalogs, other evidence of record does provide a basis for the Board to so determine. That other evidence consists of the 13 random samples. According to the Contracting Officer, the catalogs were rejected because these samples contained major defects in the areas of Type Quality and Uniformity, Process Color Match, and Conspicuous Single Page Defect. The Board has examined these samples and determined that while the Contracting Officer's conclusions are not entirely supported or consistent with QATAP, the samples do indeed contain a variety of defects that under QATAP made the catalogs rejectable. First, the Board's inspection reveals, with respect to attribute P-7, Type Quality and Uniformity, that each of the 13 samples has more than four broken type characters on the rear cover. Under QATAP that means each sample is assigned 20 demerits and, based on those demerits, assessed a major defect for this attribute. QATAP manual at 2, 3, 18. Thus, the Board finds the Contracting Officer's assessment of 13 major defects for this attribute to be appropriate. Second, with respect to attribute P-10, Color Process Match, the Board discerns from an inspection of the original color photographs furnished by the agency, Rule 4 File, Tab Z, and the colors of the reproduced photographs in the catalogs a noticeable color shift in the skin tones of the individuals in the photographs on page 1-11. According to QATAP, an objectionable shift, resulting in the assignment of 20 demerits, "is a shift between the specified standard and the sample causing a definite change of color. Examples are fleshtones shifting slightly toward a yellow or magenta hue 1/4." QATAP manual at 23. The specified standard here, set forth in the purchase order, was the photoprints, Rule 4 File, Tab A; the fleshtones in the reproduced photographs clearly have shifted from those in the original photoprints. While it is not clear from the record on what basis the Contracting Officer concluded that 3 of the sample catalogs contained a major defect under this attribute (the original inspection report merely stated that there were at least three instances of an "objectionable shift" while the later inspection report referred to two different Process Color Match problems: an objectionable shift from certain of the samples to the remaining samples, and an objectionable color shift from the "c-prints"), the Board's inspection confirms that all 13 samples suffer from what is clearly under QATAP an objectionable color shift from the color photoprints. However, it is not apparent to the Board how an assignment of 20 demerits for this deficiency results in an assessment of a major defect. A major defect can be assessed only if the ADL for all pages exceeds 4; each catalog contains more than 100 pages, and there is no indication, nor is it otherwise apparent to the Board, how it was determined that the ADL for attribute P-10 exceeds 4. Accordingly, the Board does not find support for the assessment of a major defect under attribute P-10.4 Third, while the Board's inspection confirms the existence of bubbles on some of the sample covers, the Contracting Officer's assessment of 3 major defects for a Conspicuous Single Page Defect for bubbles in the coating of the covers is clearly inconsistent with QATAP. The QATAP manual describes Conspicuous Single Page Defects as follows: When one or more pages have been assessed demerits for a printing attribute but the ADL does not exceed 4, a single major defect will be assessed for that printing attribute if one or more pages is so conspicuously defective that it significantly impairs the quality of the entire copy. Examples include a large hickey at the focal point of an illustration, a single page with extremely light (but legible) type, large ink spots, large oil spots, and large off-color spots in illustrations. QATAP manual at 3. The problem here is that a cover coating with bubbles is not a printing defect; it is a finishing defect. According to the QATAP manual, bubbles are encompassed by Finishing Attribute F-11, Damaged Covers. The manual provides that for finishing attributes the Conspicuous Single Page Defect provision does not apply. "Instead, for each finishing attribute, the individual item is inspected and if necessary, assessed a major defect or a critical defect in accordance with the applicable tolerance table." QATAP manual at x. Thus, the assessment of major defects under the Conspicuous Single Page Defect provision was improper. What the Respondent should have done was examine the covers in accordance with attribute F-11 measurement procedures5 and then determine whether to assess a defect pursuant to the tolerance table for attribute F-11, which, for the PQL involved here, provides for assessment of a major defect if the bubbles occur over more than 10 percent of the surface of the cover. QATAP manual at 42. Its failure to evaluate the catalogs under attribute F-11 instead of the Conspicuous Single Page Defect provision is not necessarily fatal, however. If the Board can determine that a defect relied on by the Contracting Officer to reject a shipment is properly assessable as such under QATAP, the Respondent's reliance on an inappropriate attribute instead of the correct one will not preclude affirmance of the rejection. See Daniels Press, Inc., supra, at 6 (the Board determined from the samples that it was appropriate to assess a major defect for roller marks under attribute P-2 instead of under attributes F-8 and F-9, as the Respondent believed). Samples 7, 8, and 10 are marked "CSPD," which the Board takes to mean Conspicuous Single Page Defect. The Board's inspection of the front covers of these samples confirms that bubbles are present and that they clearly cover far more than 10 percent of the cover surface. Thus, the Board is satisfied that the Contracting Officer's concern about these bubbles properly could result in the assessment of three major defects, albeit under attribute F-11 instead of for Conspicuous Single Page Defects. As a result of these major defects properly assessable under attributes P-7 and F-11, the catalogs were rejectable under QATAP. However, the Appellant asserts that it should not be held responsible for the broken type on the covers because it resulted from what the Government furnished and from specification requirements. According to the Appellant, the type "was supplied by the agency," "the trouble was visible on the proof," and the flood coating required by the specifications "increased" the problem. The Appellant states in this regard that it has its copy of the proof and film from original artwork. The Board is not persuaded by this assertion. First, the under the contract's "Government Furnished Property (GFP)" clause, GPO Contract Terms, Contract Clauses, ¶ 7, incorporated by reference, the Appellant was required to examine the material furnished by the Government and notify the Respondent if there was any disagreement "with the description or the requirements as presented in the specification." This notice requirement is buttressed by the QATAP-it provides that defects will not be assessed for deviations from specifications caused by Government Furnished Material (GFM) "if the contractor notifies the Government prior to production that the GFM is not satisfactory." QATAP manual at 3. A contractor claiming that GFM was inadequate or unsuitable has the burden of proving that it notified the Respondent in accordance with the terms of the contract. Braceland Brothers, Inc., GPOBCA 01-93 (August 8, 1997), slip op. at 28, 1997 WL 772400. The Appellant has offered no evidence on this point. Second, while defective GFM may extinguish a contractor's duty to perform, once the Respondent offers evidence, such as inspection reports, to prove the basis for rejection and default, the contractor has the burden of proving that the GFM was defective and was the cause of the problem in question. Shepard Printing, supra, at 12. The Appellant has not done that here. It has simply alleged that the GFM caused the broken type problem and that it has in its possession items that would help establish that the GFM caused the problem; it has not, however, furnished any evidence to the Board that would bear on this matter. Third, the Board has been furnished, by the Contracting Officer, a pre-production proof prepared by the Appellant.6 The letters on the back cover of this proof are not broken. Had the GFM been defective in this way, the proof would have indicated such. While the Appellant states that the flood coating requirement exacerbated the situation and led to the broken letters on the finished product, it has offered no evidence to support that assertion. In short, the Board finds that the Appellant, with the burden of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence,7 that the rejection of the catalogs was improper notwithstanding the Respondent's evidence, has failed to meet that burden. Moreover, inasmuch as the record establishes a proper basis for the rejection of the catalogs, the Appellant has also failed to meet its much heavier burden of proving that the Respondent acted in bad faith8 by rejecting the catalogs simply because the customer agency was dissatisfied with the finished product as a result of the agency's own specifications. See McDonald & Eudy Printers, Inc., GPOBCA 06-91 (May 6, 1994), slip op. at 37, 1994 WL 377581. Accordingly, the Board concludes that the rejection of the catalogs as defective was not improper. Upon finding the catalogs to be rejectable, the Contracting Officer had the choice of accepting them at a discount, ordering the contractor to reprint them, or, if the defects were major, terminating the contract for default. Daniels Press, Inc., supra, at 7; IPI Graphics, GPOBCA 04-96 (April 9, 1998), slip op. at 14, 1998 WL 350490. Although the Appellant at one point argued that the Contracting Officer should have accepted a discount rather than require a reprint, this is a matter within the discretion of the Contracting Officer. The Government has the right to insist on strict compliance with its specifications, and it is the sole arbiter of whether it will accept nonconforming goods at a discount or insist on a reprint. McDonald & Eudy Printers, Inc., supra, at 31; Dependable Printing Co., Inc., GPOBCA 5-84 (September 12, 1985), slip op. at 26, 1985 WL 154847. If the contractor refuses or fails to reprint in a timely fashion when directed to do so,9 the contract may be terminated for default, with the failure to reprint providing an independent basis for the default termination. Big Red Enterprises, supra, at 29; Sterling Printing, Inc., supra, at 37. In this instance the Contracting Officer, advised that the catalogs were unacceptable to the customer agency, informed the Appellant by letter of September 13, 1996 of the need for corrective action, Rule 4 File, Tab C, but, according to GPO's contract file, in a subsequent telephone conversation on September 16 the Appellant's president informed the Contracting Officer that the company was moving from its current location, that no presses would be available, and that the company could not reprint the order. Rule 4 File, Tab E. That the Appellant declined to reprint is also indicated in its letter to the Board of December 16, 1996, wherein the Appellant's president states that "[o]ur response was that there was no point to reprint the job because they still wouldn't like the PMS color." The Board is satisfied from this record that the Appellant manifested a clear intent not to reprint the catalogs. Accordingly, the Board concludes that the Contracting Officer was warranted in terminating the contract for default. That leaves the question of the Appellant's liability for the excess costs of reprocurement. The Appellant asserts that the reprocurement contract contained several changes from the initial contract, that these changes were major, and that in effect the reprocurement was a "new job" for which the Appellant has no cost liability. The "Default" clause provides that the Government, upon terminating a contract for default, "may acquire, under the terms and in the manner the Contracting Officer considers appropriate, supplies or services similar to those terminated, and the contractor will be liable to the Government for any excess costs for those supplies or services." The Government has a duty to mitigate the defaulted contractor's liability, however, and it is therefore the Government's burden to demonstrate the propriety of the repurchase and its entitlement to the amount claimed as excess reprocurement costs. Wickersham Printing Co., Inc., GPOBCA 23-96 (December 18, 1998), slip op. at 4, 1998 WL ______; Printgraphics, GPOBCA 04-97 (November 12, 1998), slip op. at 3, 1998 WL ______; K.C. Printing Co., GPOBCA 2-91 (February 22, 1995), slip op. at 18, 1995 WL 488531. To meet this burden, the Government must show that (a) the reprocurement contract was performed under substantially the same terms and conditions as the original contract; (b) it acted within a reasonable time following default to reprocure; (c) it employed a reprocurement method that would maximize competition under the circumstances; (d) it obtained the lowest reasonable price; and (e) the work has been completed and final payment made so that the excess cost assessment is based upon liability for a sum certain. Gold Country Litho, GPOBCA 22-93 (September 30, 1996), slip op. at 26, 1996 WL 812956 (quoting from K.C. Printing Co., supra, at 18-19), aff'd in part and vacated in part, GPOBCA 22-93 (March 17, 1997), slip op., 1997 WL 742506; Univex International, GPOBCA 23-90 (July 5, 1996), slip op. at 4, 1996 WL 812959; Asa L. Shipman's Sons, Ltd., GPOBCA 06-95 (August 29, 1995), slip op. at 28, 1995 WL 818784; Sterling Printing, Inc., supra. The Appellant argues that criterion (a) is not satisfied because major changes were made to the original contract specifications. It points to a replacement of an index appearing in the back of the catalog, correction of color shifts, and changes in the widths of horizontal and vertical rules throughout the book as major changes, and identifies as "really major changes" the substitution of Pantone 640 blue for the Pantone 636 originally specified and the elimination of the flood coating requirement for the cover. The Government bears the initial burden of proving that a reprocurement contract, both in terms of the supplies purchased and the terms and conditions of the contract, is similar to or substantially the same as the original contract. Sterling Printing, Inc., supra, at 58. Similarity, however, is all that is required-the replacement contract need not be identical to the initial contract. Id. Thus, minor changes to the contract will not defeat the Government's right to reprocurement costs. Moreover, for a change to be considered "material" rather than minor, it must have a pecuniary impact, that is, it must cause a substantial increase in the price of the reprocurement contract. Id. at 59; Big Red Enterprises, supra, at 41. Where a reprocurement contract appears to be basically similar to the original contract notwithstanding that some changes were made, it is the contractor's burden to show that the changes caused an unreasonable increase in the repurchase price. Gold Country Litho, supra, at 27 n.13; Big Red Enterprises, supra, at 42; Sterling Printing, Inc., supra, at 61. In A & E Copy Center, GPOBCA 38-92 (September 25, 1996), slip op., 1996 WL 812881, the Board held that a reprocurement contract was substantially different from the original contract because, among other things, it imposed a QATAP PQL of 4 while the original contract did not impose a specific PQL, provided a more stringent requirement for paper, and contained GFM changes that had a clear impact on contractor cost. However, where a reprocurement contract included production changes and such revisions as changed quality assurance levels, a new press sheet inspection requirement, and a requirement that revised proofs to be furnished at no expense to the Government, the Board held that the original and repurchase contacts were substantially similar. The Board noted that while the production changes resulted in a marked contrast in physical appearance between the books produced under the two contracts with respect to the colors, the finish on the covers, and the text paper, the books had the same "functional purpose and use" and that the original contractor had furnished no evidence showing that any of the changes had resulted in a higher reprocurement cost. The Board concluded that the two contracts were similar and that the changes did not defeat the Government's right to reprocurement costs. Sterling Printing, Inc., supra, at 61-63. In this case, the initial and reprocured catalogs clearly have the same functional purpose and use. They also are identical in most respects: for example, the quantity ordered, the number of pages, the types of paper to be used, the binding requirement, the quality assurance requirements, and the requirement for proofs all remained the same.10 While the Appellant points to several changes in the reprocurement contract, it offers no evidence that these changes resulted in increased costs. In fact, the Appellant does not even allege that the cost of the reprocurement contract increased because of these changes-the Appellant's position seems to be that the existence of the changes is sufficient to excuse it from liability for excess reprocurement costs. As indicated above, however, that is not the law-the changes must have a meaningful monetary impact resulting in higher reprocurement costs if the defaulted contractor is to be freed from its liability for those costs.11 It is certainly not apparent to the Board why the changes would have such an impact. For example, the change in color from Pantone 636 to Pantone 640 would seem to have no cost impact, and the Board is not aware of why the elimination of a requirement-to flood coat the cover-would result in a cost increase. The Board is also unaware of why the other changes-the substitution of a revised 3-page index for the original 3-page index, correction of color shifts, and change in rule widths-would have any meaningful cost impact. Thus, as in Sterling Printing, Inc., supra, the Board must conclude that the original and reprocurement contracts are similar and that the Appellant has not met its burden of showing that the changes in the reprocurement contract caused reprocurement costs to unreasonably increase. The Appellant does not challenge the reprocurement with respect to criteria (b), (c), (d), and (e), and the Board is satisfied that the Respondent has met its burden of proof with respect to those criteria. In this regard, the Board is aware of no reason why 12 days from termination to reprocurement, a period that apparently would have been shorter had the Appellant promptly returned the GFM, should not be considered a reasonable period under the circumstances here. See, e.g., Univex International, supra (GPO acted reasonably and without undue delay in awarding reprocurement contract 18 days after default termination). The use of competitive small purchase procedures, the same procurement method used initially, also was an appropriate reprocurement method for maximizing competition under the circumstances. Venture, Ltd., supra, at 26. The Government also obtained the lowest reasonable price given its more stringent delivery requirements, the inability of the two lower-cost vendors on the reprocurement to meet those delivery and other requirements, and the fact that the original competition, with a less stringent delivery requirement, produced prices that ranged up to $26,205. Resp. Brf., Atch. 6. Finally, the Government has shown that the work has been completed by the reprocurement contractor and that the amount of $21,521.78 ($21,961 less a 2 percent prompt payment discount of $439.22) was paid to that contractor. Rule 4 File, Tab Q. The Board notes that the Appellant has been assessed excess reprocurement costs in the amount of $9,116, the difference between the original purchase order price of $12,845 and the reprocurement contractor's undiscounted price of $21,961. The rule followed by the Board, however, is that the defaulted contractor is entitled to the benefit of the prompt payment discount taken on the repurchase contract. See Venture, Ltd., supra, at 28 n.15; Questar Printing, Inc., GPOBCA 19-94 (June 12, 1997), slip op. at 74 n.77; Gold Country Litho, supra, at 36. Although the Board has left undisturbed GPO's failure to reduce excess reprocurement costs by the prompt payment discount in cases where the amount was trifling or de minimis, see Venture, Ltd., supra (discount amount $158), in the context of this case the Board considers the discount of $439.22 to be more than a trifling amount. The assessment of excess reprocurement costs therefore will be reduced by that amount. III. ORDER Except for the amount of excess reprocurement costs assessed, the Contracting Officer's decisions to terminate the Appellant's contract for default and to assess excess reprocurement costs are AFFIRMED and the appeal is DENIED. The matter is remanded to the Contracting Officer for revision of the assessment of excess reprocurement costs from $9,116 to $8,676.78 to reflect the prompt payment discount realized on the reprocurement contract. It is so Ordered. January 26, 1999 Ronald Berger Ad Hoc Chairman GPO 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 February 12, 1997. It is referred to as the Rule 4 File, with an appropriate Tab letter also indicated. The Rule 4 File originally consisted of 15 tabs identified as Tab A through Tab O. The Respondent subsequently furnished Tabs P through AA and additional documents which were made a part of Tab D. 2 The Notice of Quality Defects subsequently sent to the Respondent by DPS along with 13 random samples identified the problems as follows: (1) "check pantone color"; (2) "Binding on side split"; (3) "Section 2. wrong color & not in black ?."; (4) "Marks on covers"; (5) Smu[d]g[e]s on page ii"; (6) "color not consistent ?"; and (7) "Delivery personnel ? dropped job outside ?." 3 The deficiencies were identified in terms of the attributes found in GPO's Quality Assurance Through Attributes Program, see GPO Contract Terms, Quality Assurance Through Attributes Program for Printing and Binding (QATAP), GPO Pub. 310.1, effective May 1979 (rev. April 1996) (hereafter QATAP manual). The QATAP is a GPO quality assurance program that provides for the use of objective measurements to determine whether printed products are defective. Printing Procurement Regulation, GPO Pub. 305.3 (rev. 10-90), Chap. XIII, Sec. 1, ¶ 3.a; Fry Communications, Inc., GPOBCA 30-94 (March 30, 1998), slip op. at 10, 1998 WL 350492. The QATAP, based on the use of 30 measurable properties which are referred to as quality attributes (and are divided into printing attributes, finishing attributes, and paper attributes), provides for the assessment of a specified number of demerits when deficiencies are found and for categorization of the defects as either major or critical. This will vary depending upon the Product Quality Level (PQL) required for the contract. Whether a lot is acceptable or rejectable depends upon whether the major and critical defects identified through this process exceed the Acceptable Quality Level (AQL). The AQL is 1 critical defect per 100 items and 6.5 total defects. Products with defects that exceed the AQL are not considered acceptable. QATAP manual at xi, 1; see Mozip Sign Co., GPOBCA 03-97 (October 20, 1998), slip op. at 3-4, 1998 WL 750867. The purchase order here incorporated the QATAP by reference and specified a PQL of 3. 4 It is also apparent to the Board that there is a color shift, as the Quality Assurance Section found, among the samples: at least two of the catalogs have covers with a different shade of blue from that found on the others. While this suggests that at least two of the samples deviated from the specified color (Pantone 288), under QATAP a defect can be assessed for attribute P-10 only for a shift between the specified standard and the sample. The specified standard for attribute P-10 here was not the Pantone color; the purchase order identified only "photoprints" as the standard for attribute P-10 (Pantone match was identified as the standard for attribute P-9, Solid and Screen Tint Color Match). No photoprints setting forth the standard for how the catalog covers should appear have been furnished to the Board. Thus, the Board is unable to conclude that the assessment of any defects for this color shift would be proper. 5 Damaged covers are to be measured by the placement of a clear plastic grid, consisting of 1/4 inch squares, over the surface of the damaged cover and then calculating the percentage of squares that cover the damage. QATAP manual at 42. 6 A copy of a job progress report furnished by the Appellant indicates that the Appellant submitted an initial set of proofs (the contract required proofs by August 19, 1996) and then, after their return on August 25, submitted a second set of proofs on August 26. The cover of the proof furnished to the Board contains the ink notation "New 8/26/96." 7 Preponderance of the evidence means such evidence that, when weighed against that opposed to it, is more convincing. In other words, it is the "greater weight of evidence." Braceland Brothers, Inc., supra, at 23. 8 Because there is a presumption that Government officials properly and honestly carry out their functions, an allegation of bad faith must be established by "well-nigh irrefragable" proof. McDonald & Eudy Printers, Inc., supra, at 36; Sterling Printing, Inc., GPOBCA 20-89 (March 28, 1994), slip op. at 23 n.35, 1994 WL 275104, recon. denied, GPOBCA 20-89 (July 5, 1994), slip op., 1994 WL 377592. 9The contractor's obligation is to proceed in accordance with the directions to reprint, even if the contractor believes that the original printing was not properly rejectable. In such a case the contractor may file a claim for the extra work, and if the claim is denied, appeal to this Board. Sterling Printing, Inc., supra, at 44-45. Contractors have been known to prevail in such appeals. See, e.g., Custom Printing Co., supra; Professional Printing of Kansas, Inc., GPOBCA 2-93 (May 19, 1995), slip op., 1995 WL 488488. 10 The two contracts are different with respect to delivery. The original contract contained a 26 calendar day delivery requirement; the reprocurement contract allowed only a 14 calendar day delivery period. Although an expedited delivery schedule can result in a higher price, where such a delivery schedule becomes necessary as a result of the defaulted contractor's delinquencies, that shorter delivery period is viewed as a reasonable Government requirement rather than as a material deviation from the original contract that would defeat the Government's right to excess reprocurement costs. See Printgraphics, supra, at 6, and cases cited therein. Here, the original required delivery date was September 4; after the September 18 termination for default, the Appellant refused to return the GFM in its possession, and the Respondent states that the delay engendered by that refusal necessitated a shorter delivery schedule when the reprocurement contract was finally awarded on September 30. Resp. Brf. at 13. In this regard, the record shows that the customer agency insisted on a "must have" date of October 15. Resp. Brf., Atch. 4. Under the circumstances, the Board considers the shorter delivery requirement in the reprocurement contract to be reasonable and not a material deviation from the initial contract. 11 In some cases it has been held that a contractor will not be liable for excess reprocurement costs if the contract requirements have been relaxed on reprocurement and the contractor could have performed given that relaxation, see, e.g., Blake Constr. Co., GSBCA 4013, 75-2 BCA ¶ 11,487, or if the relaxation indicates that the Government did not want the item originally described, see B & M Constr., Inc., AGBCA 90-165-1, 93-1 BCA ¶ 25,431; Hoffman Indus., Inc., ASBCA 3435, 57-2 BCA 1468, or if the relaxation is so substantial the reprocurement contract cannot be considered similar to the original contract. See Cosmos Eng'g, Inc., ASBCA 24270, 25524, 88-2 BCA ¶ 20,795. To the extent the changes here could be said to involve a relaxation of requirements, the Board notes that the most significant change-elimination of the flood coating requirement for the cover-resulted from the Appellant's refusal to timely return the GFM, which led the Contracting Officer to change the cover requirement to save production time. (According to the Respondent, the original cover requirement necessitated at least a day for the ink to dry before binding could be done without damage to the cover. Resp.Brf. at 11 n.8.) Under the circumstances, the Board considers the above cases to be inapposite to this situation.