I’m not sure why you’re equating the idea that businesses don’t always succeed with ethics. There are unethical successfull businesses and ethical businesses which fail. The two are not linked (though the public backlash at revelations of unethical decision making may impact a business’s profits).
Respect and decency are not attributes a customer should expect. The only thing that a customer should expect is that the product that they have purchased functions as described and is fit for purpose. If the company is misrepresenting their product and misleading the customer, that is unethical, but that’s not about the customer, it’s about the product.
Funcom hasn’t mislead us about the future development of SWL, they just haven’t given us any information either way. Depending on personal perspective, there will be people who say that means that the game is dead and there is no further expansion planned, and there will be others who say that there is stuff coming, just not any time soon.
If they had said there is stuff being worked on but there isn’t really, then that’s poor ethics as it’s fraud. But they didn’t, so it’s irritating for the players who don’t know for sure either way, but ethically it’s sound.
There’s no real justification for removing the monetization model. The product that people are paying for is no different now to the one a year ago. The description of it hasn’t changed, the features all remain, the benefits of paying are all still the same. The popularity has decreased, which often leads to discounted prices as consumers are less likely to pay a premium price for what is no longer regarded as a premium product, but there’s no ethical argument which says that just because something is no longer premium it should be free. Given that the game is still free to play and doesn’t require you to pay for it, there’s nothing forcing anyone to buy anything. If people choose to go down the paid route of convenience, that’s the customer’s personal choice. If people are still willing to pay then it makes commercial sense to still charge for the service. If no-one was paying any more, then it would be a good idea to rethink the charging model, but just because there are people saying stuff is too expensive, that’s not a great reason to reduce the price to zero.
Funcom doesn’t need to develop the game any further to be entitled to money for services that provide something. People aren’t paying for expansions, they’re paying for shorter mission cooldowns, more keys, cache keys and the other benefits of being a patron. They are still receiving all of those things regardless of the development of new content. It’s ethically sound, as people are still receiving the service that they are paying for. In other titles, refunds normally happen when the paid for service ceases. For example, they refunded the remaining game time for Wildstar subscribers when they sunset the game. As long as people are getting the service that they pay for, that’s perfectly decent and respectful. It’s the customer’s choice whether or not they want to pay, it’s not unethical of Funcom to charge for it.