Meet Bob. Bob purchased 10 bottles of champagne from a large grocery chain, triggering an automatically applied "multi buy" discount of 8%. He then brings the receipt back and returns 3 of the bottles, which is not enough to trigger the bulk discount, so they are refunded at three times the full price. He then returns the other 7, which appear to also get processed at full price by the till, so he is basically ahead by 8% of the value of the whole load.
He looks down at the receipts confused at the discrepancy and knackered he initially thinks he is short that amount and was refunded too little and asks, having a curious mind anyway, where the discrepancy may come from. The cashier then pulls out her own calculator to find that he has been over refunded.
She asks Bob to wait while she goes off in the back of the store to find out what to do. Bob had had a phone call with someone scheduled but nonetheless cooperatively waited for the manager to return from the back for some 20 minutes.
Finally she returns and says that she has been told on the phone by the central fraud department that she should charge him a placeholder purchase for the differential amount.
Bob repays the amount and then leaves.
However, what if Bob had not said anything in the first place or even not noticed? What would have been the legal standing between the parties? Would he have been guilty of "fraud" as casually suggested by the store manager? What if he'd simply been in more of a rush and couldn't have afforded to wait for the manager to return for him to be told to pay money back?
Or, what if he had not had any more remaining money available in his account as he had spent it all on the champagne, while the refunds may take several business days to clear?
I assume that the answer is actually fairly simple and along the lines of when one is overpaid by work due to clerical payroll errors and the money doesn't actually become one's money just because one was somehow transferred it in error but the meat space retail setting just seems to add lots more nuanced layers to it.
And yes inspired indeed by a true story.
England and Wales specified, other jurisdictions as usual welcome.