Red Flag: Unreasonably High Line Item Bids

Unreasonably high line item bids can indicate a collusive bidding scheme because the colluding bidders deliberately inflate their bid prices, particularly the designated losing bidders.

In civil works or large construction contracts, this can be accomplished most easily by inflating unit prices on line items with a large number of individually-priced units, such as the movement of earthworks that might be measured in millions of cubic meters, but for which the bidder quotes a price per one cubic meter.

Unreasonably high line item bids also can indicate an unbalanced bidding scheme, in which corrupt project officials leak information to a favored bidder that a certain line item will be increased after contract award, allowing the bidder to profit substantially.  For example, a bidder for a road contract might quote a very high price for a relatively minor item, such as 100 safety barriers, that would not unduly affect its total bid price, and thereafter profit substantially when the number of barriers to be purchased is increased to 1000.

This red flag can indicate the following schemes:

Click on the scheme listed above to see more information on the scheme, a more complete listing of its red flags and steps to determine if the scheme is actually present.