I began selling on eBay twelve years ago as a way to quickly dispose of my buying mistakes or to sell off perfectly good systems I no longer used (photo gear and vintage stereo hifi components). So I've been on both sides of a transaction many times over, mostly good experiences but a few bad as well. The advice on how to shop carefully is sound practice I'd recommend to anyone, but no amount of screening can eliminate the risk caused by outright lying or incompetence or an honest mistake. For certain items you may have no choice but to roll the dice with unknown or questionable sellers because availability is limited (lately it seems the Japanese dealer network has swept up every single intact vintage camera and desirable lens in North America, leaving just the dregs behind, and the individual USA sellers who occasionally still have good examples tend to be problematic in one way or another). Every potential buyer must know their own tolerance for inconvenience and possible financial loss, of course, but one sometimes needs to expand that range beyond their comfort zone to lay hands on something they want. My remarks about the stranglehold eBay now maintains on sellers should be interpreted in that context. There is always some buyer risk, but as long as you limit your shopping to sellers with a fairly constant, current selling history that risk is reduced considerably by eBay's ever-more- Draconian (against sellers) return policy. They've just changed the rules for the third time in as many years, tilting the field further in favor of unscrupulous or inconsiderate buyers. Of course this means far more typical honest buyers are covered as well, so have no fear: eBay will literally rip your money back out of the seller's pants pocket to refund you, including your return shipping costs. Sellers are aware of this, so even the ones who try to play dumb and obfuscate will usually offer a courteous refund the minute you ask for a return. If not, they risk pretty severe reprisal from eBay. Careful screening of listings per Vincent Peri's advice should vastly reduce the odds you'll need to return anything, but if it happens, it happens. Unfortunately theres no real rhyme or reason to eBay listings from random individuals who sell one item per year. The "better the listing, the better the item" rule usually applies, unless it doesn't. I've picked up great deals on great bodies/lenses from ridiculously awful listings: one or two blurry iPhone pics and one-sentence descriptions. I've also been disappointed buying from very professional listings full of clear pics and detailed descriptions: even the most well-intentioned seller can overlook or miss a hidden defect. I'm more adventurous than most, and have been lucky in finding intelligent buyers who offered me decent prices on some rather big mistakes I made. Overall, I broke even, but if you don't have the patience for such prospecting and don't relish the idea of selling off or returning mistakes, stick to established vintage camera dealers like KEH. To davecaz: amen, brother! A disturbing percentage of buyers could use a dose of the integrity they demand from sellers. I've NEVER returned anything unless it was grossly defective but priced at (and described as) perfect. If the item just doesn't suit me, or has a minor defect that a seller could credibly not pre-screen, I chalk it up to experience and have it repaired (or just resell it myself).