I'm not one to give up a free bounty.
As per Animuson's comment
It was simply a mistake while fiddling with another answer. – animuson♦ Oct 6 '19 at 17:22
We're mortal, fallible and made of meat.
But that's a boring answer.
While I'm not staff, I'm a moderator here, and at the end of the day, with things like thus, shaping the policies of the site are part of my role.
I'm also not one to pass up on a chance to clarify policy
Will you please just reply already? We need answers. This being ignored will not improve relations between users and the company, nor will it increase your already low trust.
While a bit informal, seems fine to me in general. Its a bit of an odd bounty to earn by the letter of the bounty message but... it reflected the feelings of the community at the time pretty well.
Using bounties to get attention and to try to get an issue resolved faster while, IMO completely pointless, is part of meta culture. There should be no real issue to addressing the company in a mod message.
Essentially - a bounty getting refunded ought to be incredibly rare. If there's a problem with your bounty reason, we ought to be reaching out to you in some way to let you know why the bounty in question was problematic. In the cases where I have, I've personally made an attempt to, and it ought to be best practice.
I've literally never seen a bounty message removed on its own, and there's no neat UI. Seeing how... terrible, some tools ported to mod use from CM use are initially, I can believe the fatfingering). If it was possible, I still do think letting the user know precisely what was wrong from our perspective makes sense.
There have been cases where bounties were used in an attempt to stir up drama, or pillory members of the community and staff - and those are not acceptable.
This wasn't one of them.
Healthy constructive disagreement has always been a pillar of the culture of SE and MSE.
So, if we intentionally remove a bounty, or its associated message, we ought to let you know why. I'd personally go with something private - its an appropriate use of a mod message IMO