Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Section I. General
1. What is GSA Reverse Auction?
GSA Reverse Auction is an efficient and cost effective Platform for buying non-complex commodities and simple services. Designed to drive down the total cost of acquisitions and increase savings to customers and taxpayers. GSA Reverse Auction is an eTool and can be used to facilitate the request for and submission of quotes, offers or proposals for products, services, and solutions through GSA Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) and Blanket Purchase agreements (BPAs).
2. Does GSA Reverse Auction charge fees?
GSA will not charge any additional fees for products or services purchased on GSA reverse auction Platform against GSA Schedule Contracts, VA Schedule Contracts, Federal Strategic Sourcing BPAs, National IT Commodity BPAs or Agencies BPAs against GSA Schedules Contract Vehicles.
3. Why should I use GSA Reverse Auction?
By leveraging GSA Schedule contracts and their unique ability to provide a broad array of vendors and small business set-aside capability GSA's Reverse Auction Platform improves the government's ability to maintain small business participation through broad competitions and set-asides to promote agencies' meeting small business goals in a cost effective way.
4. What are the benefits of GSA Reverse Auction?
Buyers Benefits include:
- Real-time pricing
- Provides customers with level III spend data
- Interfaces with existing systems, i.e., eBuy for authentication, eLibrary for vendor information updates
- Assists meeting small business goals Facilitates compliance with competition requirements
- Attach customized documents
- Real time pricing: Vendors aware of where they stand in auction process. Bidders' identities are not visible to other sellers/bidders in a reverse auction.
- Driven by competition
- Web based program – allows all qualified vendors to participate depending on vehicle chosen by Buyer Access to all RFQ/RFPs placed under categories for which you hold contracts
- Receive email notices of RFQ/RFP opportunities
5. How do I access/login or register into GSA Reverse Auction?
In order to access GSA Reverse Auction you will need to have a valid GSA eBuy Buyer username and password. If you do not have an eBuy username, you can register here: https://www.ebuy.gsa.gov/advantage/main/registration.do. The Reverse Auction Platform is not setup for non-eBuy registrants.
6. If I need assistance or technical support who do I contact?
For general ReverseAuctions.gsa.gov support questions, including assistance with username and password, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-855-372-1094.
For questions about the GSA Reverse Auctions program, please send an email to: email@example.com.
For all questions regarding an auction or auction line item, please contact the Buyers listed on the auction or line item description page.
7. How long does a reverse auction last?
The time parameter is established by the buyer. Check with agency procedures to ensure the solicitation meets FAR requirements for posting.
8. Does a buyer have the ability to amend aspects of his/her auction (such as quantities solicited) after an auction has started?
Yes. Buyers have the ability to amend auctions via the amendment features in the reverse auction Platform.
9. Is a Buyer required to issue an award if the Buyer doesn't like the Reverse Auction results?
Buyers have the ability to cancel an auction at any time before the auction closes or to make the decision to not make any award after the auction closes with proper justification in accordance with the terms and conditions of the solicitation and all applicable regulations.
10. Can a Buyer make an award either single or multiple through GSA Reverse Auctions?
Yes. Buyers must make the actual awards in their agency contract writing system first and then log back into the Reverse Auction Platform to hit the award notification button to notify the bidders of the award.
See also FAQ #25 below.
11. Is vendor performance reported?
Buyers are responsible for reporting vendor performance through CPARS for actions above $150K.
12. How does a Buyer report vendor performance?
Vendor performance will be reported as a Buyer would with any other solicitation and through those venues (i.e. CPARs), not GSA Reverse Auctions at this time.
13. Can a Buyer accept offline bids?
14. Can the agency/buyer and vendor obtain Level 3 data reports?
Yes. These reports are available to Buyers in the reverse auctions system on the reporting tab:
Level 3 Data Report (Closed Auctions): This report is a html web report that can also be downloaded as a CSV file that can be open in Microsoft Excel. The fields available on the report are: Auction ID, Alternate ID, Award Type, Award Date, Number of Bidders, Awarded Vendor Name, Awarded Vendor Business Size, Contract Number, SIN Selected, Line Item Number, Brand Name OR Brand Name or Equal, Buyer Manufacturer Name, Buyer Manufacturer Part Number, Buyer Product Description, Vendor Manufacturer Name, Vendor Proposed Part Number, SIN Subcategory Name, FSC, UNSPC, Unit Of issue, Quantity, Independent Government Estimate (IGE), Total Awarded Price, Calculated Unit Price, Savings from IGE , Buyer Name, Agency, Bureau, Org. Level 1, and Org. Level 2.
Auction Abstract: The auction abstract is a web report that will contain all of the information about the auction, line items, bids and bid histories, Q&As, and attachments for a particular auction.
15. Will there be a future ability to build Agency specific clauses template and future ability to build buyer specific clause templates?
This option is expected to be a future feature enhancement to the Platform.
16. Will the winning Seller's name be displayed to other Bidders at auction close?
No. At the close of the auction, the Platform notifies the Seller with the apparent lowest bid at time of auction close; this notification does not constitute a contract/order award. The bidders that did not have the apparent lowest bid at the time of auction close will be able to see that they are were not the apparent lowest bidder and that they were outbid in the Seller's dashboard in the Platform.
17. Will the winning vendor name be displayed to other vendors at final award?
(No. The Platform will provide email notification to the bidders that were not selected for award at the time that the Buyer utilizes the award feature in the Platform; this email notification does not disclose the name of the awardee.
18. Is GSA Reverse Auctions 508 compliant?
Yes, the GSA's Reverse Auction Platform is 508 compliant.
19. Can agencies use the Platform independently or will GSA manage the process?
The Reverse Auction Platform is a self service tool. Agency buyers that need assistance can contact the reverse auction helpdesk. For agency buyers that use the Platform themselves, buyer user guides, online help documentation and context sensitive help will be available to facilitate proper system use.
20. How does a Buyer know if its acquisitions are compliant?
The GSA's Reverse Auction Platform does not replace the responsibility of the Contracting Officer to meet FAR requirements and agency procedures. Features have been built into the GSA's Reverse Auction Platform that assists the Contracting Officer in meeting FAR compliance. For example, the requirement of fair opportunity can be met by use of the GSA's Reverse Auction Platform.
21. What contract vehicles are on the GSA Reverse Auction Platform?
For a current list of contract vehicles on the Reverse Auction Platform view the home page to see what's available.
22. Can the Buyer make an award in the Reverse Auction Platform?
Per the Platform Terms and Conditions:
"Platform users recognize and acknowledge the distinctions between a Buyer utilizing the "Award" feature in the Platform to notify bidders in contrast to the Buyer awarding a contract or order to an offeror.
Awards are made by Buyers in accordance with the terms of the solicitation and award process utilized by the Buyer. After an auction closes the Buyer takes into account the auction results in making the Buyer's award decision.
The "Award" feature in the Platform is a feature required to be utilized by Buyers when using the Platform to conduct an auction. The award feature in the Platform is a means by which a Buyer notifies the particular bidder(s) selected by the Buyer as the contract/order awardee as well as notifies the unsuccessful bidder(s) that are not being selected for award.
GSA's expectation is that the Buyer shall utilize the award feature in the Platform the same day that the Buyer makes contract/order award outside the Platform. Using the award feature in the Platform is critical for GSA to keep complete records regarding the outcome of auctions and to ensure complete data can be generated in reports for Buyer agencies (such as Level III reports).
23. What times are displayed in the Reverse Auction Platform?
All times displayed are Central Time Zone. It is strongly recommended that any documentation or attachments provided by either the Buyer or Seller refer to the Central Time Zone as appropriate to alleviate any confusion.
24. How are the prices quoted in the Reverse Auction Platform?
Buyers and Vendors should input the total price for the line item. Do not insert unit prices.
25. As a Buyer, how do I improve my chances of getting more bidders on my auction?
Make sure you see the product you are wanting is in GSA Advantage from at least 3 sources that have schedule/s in your solicitation.
Section II. FAQ for Acquisition Procedures
1. What happens if two vendors bid the same amount? Which one gets the award?
While it is viewed as unlikely to occur frequently, it is possible under the Platform for two sellers to bid the same amount and for the auction to reflect that at time of auction close. In the event that occurs, then it is up to the Buyer to follow the FAR and the terms and conditions of the solicitation. While FAR Part 14 does not apply to Federal Supply Schedule orders, it provides an example for equal low bids.
FAR 14.408-6 -- Equal Low Bids.
(a) Contracts shall be awarded in the following order of priority when two or more low bids are equal in all respects:
(1) Small business concerns that are also labor surplus area concerns.
(2) Other small business concerns.
(3) Other business concerns.
(b) If two or more bidders still remain equally eligible after application of paragraph (a) of this section, award shall be made by a drawing by lot limited to those bidders. If time permits, the bidders involved shall be given an opportunity to attend the drawing. The drawing shall be witnessed by at least three persons, and the contract file shall contain the names and addresses of the witnesses and the person supervising the drawing.
(c) When an award is to be made by using the priorities under this 14.408-6, the contracting officer shall include a written agreement in the contract that the contractor will perform, or cause to be performed, the contract in accordance with the circumstances justifying the priority used to break the tie or select bids for a drawing by lot.
2. What are the ordering procedures for using reverse auctions?
Utilize FAR 8.405-1 or 8.405-2 when placing orders against GSA Schedules via reverse auctions. Links to both the Buyer User Guide and Vendor User Guide are provided here.
3. What is the purpose of GSA’s reverse auction process?
The reverse auction process is used to solicit quotes for products and simple services not requiring a statement of work under FAR 8.405-1 and may be used for pricing when buying services under FAR 8.405-2. It allows buyers to obtain discounts off of established Schedule prices and helps contracting officers comply with the requirement to seek a discount for orders exceeding the Simplified Acquisition Threshold (SAT).
4. Can I specify brand-name requirements using reverse auctions?
Yes. However, if the auction requires items peculiar to one manufacturer (or brand name) the ordering activity must follow the procedures in FAR 8.405-6(b) for limiting sources. This requires that the ordering activity contracting officer document circumstances for restricting competition in the contract file when the order exceeds $25,000; and for orders exceeding the Simplified Acquisition Threshold (SAT), a Limited Sources Justification must be prepared.
5. Where do I post my Limited-Sources Justification when specifying a brand-name?
FAR 8.405-6(b)(3)(i) requires that the Limited-Sources Justification (LSJ) (or file documentation when the value of the order is between $25,000 and $150,000) be posted to eBuy, along with the Request for Quote (RFQ).
GSA recommends that buyers follow the steps below for posting the LSJ:
- Create the auction in the Reverse Auctions platform.
- Login to eBuy and create an RFQ with the following information:
- In the description box state that "this RFQ is to support the posting of a Limited-Sources Justification (LSJ) IAW FAR 8.405-6(b)(3)(i)". If you wish to be considered as an offeror for this requirement please comply with the terms of this RFQ, including all deadlines, and login to the GSA Reverse Auctions platform and enter your bid under auction ID # XXXXXXX prior to the close of the auction.
- RFQ closing date. The closing date and time of the RFQ in eBuy should match the closing date and time of the auction in the Reverse Auctions platform.
6. Does the GSA Reverse Auction process satisfy the requirements of FAR 8.405-1(d)(3)(ii) and FAR 8.405-2(c)(3)(iii)(B), to provide the RFQ to as many contractors as is practicable when exceeding the SAT?
Yes. GSA Reverse Auctions empowers Buyers to satisfy those requirements by enabling a Buyer utilizing the Reverse Auction platform to provide the RFQ, at the Buyer's discretion, to as many Schedule contractors as practicable or to all Schedule contractors.
7. I am a GSA Schedules contractor. Will discounting my prices to compete in the reverse auction process invoke the Price Reductions clause?
No. When discounting to Federal agencies, the Price Reductions clause is not invoked. See GSAM 552.238-75(d)(2).
FAQ March 15, 2014