I've bought a few things, both international and national, and have managed to work out a few safety tips. If anyone else has any, maybe this is the place to posts them?
1. Check feedback carefully and look at the itIems sold/bought. Anyone with hidden feedback avoid!
2. Check the location and determine whether there are any issues with you getting your money back if it all goes "tits-up". China is a long way away....!
3. Check the item description is full, complete and factual (no bullsh*t!, i.e. " it's the best guitar I own"- why are they selling it then?).
4. Don't rush into it. There are plenty more (generally!). E-mail the seller like mad. I do it all the time. If they lose their temper with me asking questions, why would I want to buy from them and what have they to hide?
5. Ask if you can pick it up. If it's a fraud, they'll try to make some excuse (see my other thread). I've avoided many scams with this ruse. Give it a try, you meet some cool folks as well.
6. Don't let bidding fever get you. We've all seen examples of crap making large amounts of cash because a couple of bidders got carried away. Don't let it be you.
7. NEVER EVER overide your gut feeling. If it feels wrong, don't bother.
These are just a few of my tips....Any more.