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Hypothetically, the money was paid (the method is immaterial) in error. The recipient has acknowledged receipt of the payment and that it was made in error, and has refused to return the money. IMO, this is could well be theft. Similar circumstances to R v Stalham .
But the whole story seems rather odd to me - hypothetically speaking.
“I can assure the House that the Broads will not be changing their name.” (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs...Hansard 2007)
Thanks everyone so far. Some interesting points of view and advice. To clear up any confusion the mistake happened whilst using his phone. The boat company was a saved contact and he simply wasn't paying attention. He informed them within 10 minutes of the transaction going through and also has a clear e mail trail between him and the owner of the company where he has been asking for a refund. The owner of the company keeps stating that his bank is advising him to not refund until a formal request has come through from his bank. My friends bank have followed through on this and have made a formal refund request and the beneficiary has not responded. The owner of the company, having been shown the letter confirming this from my friends bank still could not see sense to resolve this between the 2 of them. After another phone call today my friends bank have offered to refund the payment as a goodwill gesture so my friend doesn't have to pursue unnecessary costs to claim back ONLY £50!!!! At least he now has freedom in his spare time as he will not constantly be on hold to a bank or on his e mail to an unhelpful company. Hypothetically speaking of course.;)