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Vendor Procurement Guide

Section 7: Vendor Resolutions, Disputes and Protests

The state purchasing process begins with specifying in detail what commodity or service the agency needs. In turn, interested vendors offer a bid which meets or exceeds the specifications in the request for quotation or proposal. Should a problem or situation arise affecting a participating party (i.e. the Purchasing Division, state agencies, and registered vendors), the following procedures are established to assist in the resolution of these issues.

Vendor Performance

The state shall receive the commodities or services as specified in the request for quotation or proposal. If an agency deems the received commodities or services do not meet the specifications offered by a vendor, it is required to contact the vendor in an attempt to resolve all issues. The agency is to provide a description of the problem and the expectations of the outcome. Vendors should respond to the agency with clarification or possible solutions to the problem.

If this attempt does not resolve the issue(s), agencies are encouraged to complete the Vendor Performance Form (see Appendix B) detailing their complaint with the appropriate documentation. The Vendor Performance Form is submitted to the Purchasing Division and to the vendor providing the unsatisfactory commodity or service. The Purchasing Division responds to the agency’s complaint by contacting the vendor to resolve the issue(s).

The Vendor Performance Form is generally the agency’s final attempt to resolve the problem. The Purchasing Division uses all substantial documentation relating to the complaint to determine the appropriate action to take.

Vendor Protests

Vendors have the option of protesting certain decisions made by the Purchasing Division. Protests based on bid specifications must be submitted no later than five (5) working days prior to the bid opening.  Protest of purchase order/contract awards must be submitted no later than five (5) working days after the award.

The vendor is responsible for knowing the bid opening and award dates. All protests must be submitted in writing to the Purchasing Director and contain the following information:

  1. Name and address of the protestor,

  2. Requisition/purchase order/contract number(s),

  3. Statement of the grounds for protest,

  4. Supporting documentation (if necessary), and

  5. Resolution or relief sought.

Failure to submit this information will be grounds for rejection of the protest.

The Purchasing Director or his designee will review the matter of the protest and issue a written decision.  A hearing may be conducted at the option of the Purchasing Director or designee. Continuation or delay of the purchase order/contract award process is at the discretion of the Purchasing Director.

The Purchasing Division reserves the right to refuse to review any protest where the matter involved is the subject of litigation before a court of competent jurisdiction, has previously been decided on the merits by a court of competent jurisdiction, or has been decided in a previous protest by the Purchasing Division. The provisions of this subsection do not apply where the court requests, expects, or otherwise expresses interest in the decision of the state.

Debarment/Suspension of Vendors

The Purchasing Director has the authority to suspend a vendor’s right and privilege to bid on state purchases and place the vendor on the State’s Debarment List for a period, not to exceed one year, when the Director has reason to believe that such vendor has violated any provisions of the purchasing law or the rules and regulations.

The power and authority of suspension vested in the Purchasing Director may be exercised when there is a reason to believe that one of the following conditions exist:

  • A vendor has exhibited poor performance in fulfilling its contractual obligations to the state in more than one purchase order or contract.

  • A vendor has willingly breached any purchase order or contract entered into pursuant to the provisions of the Code or the Purchasing regulations.

  • A vendor has violated any provisions of the Purchasing laws or regulations.

  • A vendor has been convicted of any federal, state or local law punishable as a felony, which conviction arises from the vendor's acts or omissions directly related to the performance of the purchase order or contract entered into pursuant to West Virginia Code §5A-3-1 et seq.

When the Purchasing Division Director has reason to believe that the provisions of the Purchasing laws and regulations have been violated, the vendor will be notified by a certified letter containing the reason for such suspension. Any vendor notified of a suspension may request a hearing to be scheduled with the Director. If the hear­ing confirms the suspension, the vendor may have the Director’s action reviewed by the Secretary of the Department of Administration.

Further explanation of the suspension process may be found in §148-1-5.3 (Vendor’s Rights and Duties) of the Code of State Rules 148 CSR 1, which is available at the Purchasing Division’s website at:

http://www.state.wv.us/admin/purchase

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