Here's my situation. I commissioned someone from DeviantArt for a custom Growlithe and Sandile (pokemon) plush around 6 months ago in June. I sent him one out of two payments for the plush. At first, he communicated fine, so even though work was coming along slowly, I didn't mind. However, soon after, he completely disappeared. I kept trying to get in contact with him, but he never responded. Finally around two months ago or so, he made a journal entry saying that he had a rough time, etc. which is why he couldn't work on anything but he would put up some works in the next couple of days. He responded me to then with a progress picture of one of my plushes and offered me a discounted price on my plushes. I responded back, saying that I was frustrated at the lack of communication and I wanted to know the progress of my second plush. The next days rolled around... no response and nothing uploaded onto his DeviantArt.
I waited a couple more days (or weeks?) before I felt completely fed up, and I sent him a note saying that I wanted to cancel my commission.
As far as I've always known, it was a common rule that if the customer cancelled their commission, the artist would keep the cost of the materials and the equivalent cost of the work/labor that has been done, and the customer would be refunded the rest.
However, in cases where the artist behaves poorly, maintains absolutely no communication and delays their work for years, does that really apply (I've only waited 6 months, so I'm not referring to my case specifically -- just in general)?
I can understand that the artist has spent time and labor into the partial product and so they deserve the equivalent cost of that. But if the artist has kept a customer waiting for their product for over a year or even longer, is it really fair to the commissioner to only receive a partial refund instead of a full refund if they cancel?
This is just something that I've been wondering about, since it seems like my commission may develop into one of these situations soon, so I wanted to know what I can expect with refunds. Thank you!