I wasn't attending the convention for the full weekend and let them know, the artist assured me it would be done by the deadline they gave me.
By the end of the day I was leaving the convention, I checked in with the artist, and all they had to show me was a sketch of my badge. It turns out they took on more commissions than they had anticipated, it happens! I approved it and they told me to leave my address so they could mail it to me, they also offered to text me to keep in touch with the progress of the work.
(Note: My character reference was not a physical one, but digital and they asked me to send it to them via text message)
In the weeks following the convention, trying to communicate with them was hassle. They didn't have any cards with their page info, I had to go through the convention's table page to find them, their website listed there is unfinished and when I finally find their art pages & social media, they're all largely abandoned and infrequently updated. While I did have their phone number, having that bit of information makes me a bit uncomfortable? So I sought out alternative means to keep in touch after an initial update request via text. I was told to note them on FA, which I did, and they told me they would send me a WIP when they got home that day.
I never recieved a follow-up text with a WIP and my note remains unread as of the typing of this post.
Last night (the 16th) , after seeing their twitter page is becoming active, while other sites are ignored, I go ahead and send a message expressing my exasperation with the lack of communication and request progress yet again. Today (the 17th), I see they have responded, they are apologizing and state my badge has been finished and ask where I would like to see the finished product.
In being shown the finished product I'm honestly very unsatisfied? And I feel as if the work may have been rushed. My reference sheet for my character has their species listed and on multiple occasions I reiterated the species because, well, they're a distinct canine species, so features of theirs tend to be exaggerated a bit. But the finished work does not read the species of my character, and it feels a bit... generic? Many of their examples show a variety of different muzzled characters and its easy to tell 'oh, that's a crux!' or 'that's a cute goat!', but my domesticated dog ends up looking like more of a wolf. To my knowledge, with the initial sketch I was shown, the badge was shaping up to look a lot different? However I did not take a snapshot of the WIP out of courtesy to the artist so I cannot say with certainty that it was redone.
To add to this, a friend of mine who attended the convention with me also commissioned this artist, and have been in the same boat as me in trying to talk to them. When they finally got shown their badge, they noticed some character details for theirs were depicted incorrectly, and also feel as if they were rushed to get them out of the way.
Overall, my experience with this artist was negative, and I have yet to respond to the image of the finished product because I really don't know how to proceed. The artist HAS been courteous, but they're really lacking some sort of means of consistent communication and keeping a solitary art page updated.
Since the work was done, I don't think I should be entitled to a refund, but I do not know if I'm within my rights to ask for a do-over or some sort of compensation?
The artists portfolio/'professional' website is unfinished and they don't have any form of TOS listed for me to reference for this predicament.
Should I chalk this up as a loss? Or is there a tactful way to relay my dissatisfaction for an amicable resolution? I'd rather not post them up here if I have to, so I'd like to be able to give them a good chance in resolving this before resorting to a full-on beware.
Edit: The artist in question became aware of this post and contacted me not long after it went up. We hashed things out and everything is essentially square between us. I don't believe I'll be commissioning them again, but they were willing to talk it out at least.