Effectiveness of TDR is TBD

GSA Responds to Criticisms of TDR

The new pilot program for Transactional Data Reporting has met widespread criticism, leading many to question its supposed benefits.

GSA wrote the Transactional Data Reporting (TDR) requirement as an alternative to the Price Reduction Clause (PRC) and Commercial Services Practices (CSP) provision, in response to contractor complaints. The CSP provision requires government contractors to inform GSA of any discounts they offer to commercial partners. Meanwhile, the PRC requires contractors to offer government clients discounts equal to those given to commercial customers, as determined by the contract itself.

Because vendors tend to loathe these clauses, the TDR requirement generated widespread enthusiasm before its June launch. However, since then, it has met with criticism from the contractor side and has included anecdotal evidence of contracting officers still requesting CSP, or CSP-esque information from contractors enrolled in the TDR pilot.

Kevin Youell Page, the deputy commissioner of the Federal Acquisitions Service has publicly stated that “We haven’t really heard from anyone that this has specifically happened.” Most of the criticism appears based more on worries that COs could still require these, as well as general apprehension. Nonetheless, Youell Page is trying to answer feedback and reform the program. FAS has set up an email address exclusively for questions, comments, and concerns about the program; worked closely with the inspector general’s office to alleviate confusion; and continues a cross-country campaign to train and educate contractors and stakeholders.

This is a dramatic shift, made more  so by the risks associated with the new administration. GSA has only committed to a three-year pilot, and as yet the Trump administration has not moved to support TDR. This creates concerns about the liability of participating contractors for PRC and CSP data after the pilot ends.

GSA’s TDR rule changes EVERYTHING

Just over a month ago, GSA published the final Transactional Data Reporting (TDR) rule designed to expunge the Pride Reduction Clause (PRC), Most Favored Customer (MFC), and the Commercial Sales Practices. Starting 22 August, new Schedule awardees whose contract is part of the pilot roll-out will be evaluated against the TDR. Existing contract holders will be allowed to opt in, but it is a voluntary, bi-lateral move.

According to GSA, “This rule asks contractors to electronically report key procurement data; including prices paid, quantity, standard part number and product description for all purchases through GSA contract vehicles. The information collected through the TDR will help contracting officers make smarter purchasing decisions and provide data to assist in negotiating future contracts.”

The upside for vendors taking on this additional burden is that they will be spared from having to worry about violating the PRC, which states that if your commercial MFC price drops below the basis of award rates, an automatic price reduction is triggered. Failing to implement this price reduction may subject the vendor to the False Claims Act, under which they can be sued for fraud. This had been one of the leading complaints from contractors. And while there are new concerns accompanying this rule, it does seek to address a the difficulty of maintaining pricing compliance.

The TDR will require an entirely new way of dealing with GSA pricing and has some significant future effects. EZGSA is developing a white paper concerning the TDR and will post it’s link here in the next week.