I commissioned someone in early November of last year, for a custom design. I looked through the comments on the journal first, and saw that other people who had ordered customs received theirs within a day, so I didn't expect to wait very long.
The first red flag was that they asked me to send the money through Friends and Family. I probably should have dropped it at this point, but I figured they just didn't know that you're not supposed to do that for commissions and in the end I ended up checking the box for 'paying for goods and services'.
Fast forward a couple of months, they make a journal along the lines of 'comment if I owe you anything', another red flag to me but I guess it was possible that they accidentally deleted their to-do list. But looking at the comments I got even more worried, there were several people commenting along the lines of 'you owe me a custom from last year, i've waited a long time'. Still, I left a comment that they owed me a custom and they featured it, so I was at least acknowledged (the other comments were not featured or replied to). I did mention when I commented that I would be fine with a refund if they were unable to complete the work for any reason.
A couple months after that, I note them again to check in on how it's going because I've still gotten no indication of progress and they've been putting out adopts and personal art this whole time. They said that they had been in an art block but that they were getting better and would be starting owed art soon.
So I waited. Now in late May, I finally noted them asking for a refund if they haven't started yet. They say they can refund me and ask me how much I paid. As soon as I reply, I check out their page and there's a row of comments saying that they were hacked and someone changed their password so they can't log in, but that they can be contacted on a side account. So I resend the note to the side account. (I'm not saying they weren't hacked, but it seemed like pretty coincidental timing)...
A few days later they get their account back but still no response in terms of a refund. A week passes so I note them again, and this time they admit that they don't have the money and their adopts (only source of income) haven't been selling very well. So I'm trying to be accommodating and tell them that if it's easier for them to do the custom instead of refunding me, I'm fine with that too.
Fast forward to present time and they're saying that now their tablet is broken and they're going through some rough times (again, they don't note me directly about the situation, I only find out through their journals).
So at this point, do I just wait it out (I guess until they can get their tablet fixed)? I don't want to be an ass and keep bugging them about it but at the same time I've waited quite a while, and I've dealt with similar commissioners who keep coming up with excuses (but I don't exactly want to assume the excuses are lies, the artist might just be having an unlucky time and I don't want to make it worse)...
Any advice is much appreciated honestly ! Sorry this ended up being so long !! I'm the kind of person who hates conflict so I always want confirmation about what to do in situations like these.