Dear Mr. Ethics,
When we submitted our bid to the project owner we accidentally included a copy of our final bid sheet. We discovered our error when the project owner called to advise us that we are the lowest bidder but they want to discuss lowering our number because of the bid sheet. We have told the owner that it is not right but their reply has been “you opened the door.” The owner also told us that if we do not talk about lowering our bid they will re-bid the project because our bid sheet shows the project can be done for less while leaving room for a “reasonable” profit.” What should we do with this unethical owner?
There is no question that the owner is acting unethically. The owner knew or should have known that the bid sheet was confidential information. The owner should have returned it to you immediately. The owner’s attempts to use it against you is unconscionable and a violation of the established bid process. Advise the owner it is acting unethically and that it is in violation of the bidding process. If this is a public project you may want to mention the possible legal violations the owner is committing since public bids are specifically governed by law in most states. Regardless of project type you may want to seek court intervention since you right to make whatever profit you can is usually protected by courts.
Respectfully, Mr. Ethics