I've had an overall positive experience buying parts from the majority of the members here. Thank you all for being so great.
However, my experiences have not all been positive. I have been ripped off once, had a ridiculously long fiasco based on horrible communication, and who knows what I'm currently going through with my most recent purchase.
My point is simple though, there are zero regulations set in place to guarantee anyone anything in terms of honoring a sale or purchase. Refunds? Who knows. Going to ship it tomorrow, or three months from now? Who knows. Disappear off the face of the earth? Just maybe.
So I'd personally advise people to do a few things to help protect themselves from getting ripped off.1- Get a major credit card.
Most of the big credit card companies, if not all, now have buyer protection. If someone dosen't ship a package to you, you can file a claim against them, and get your money back. Almost guaranteed.2- Get Paypal
Yes. It is a pain. It's a flawed system. But it's the best thing I know of. You can set up your paypal account so that you can pay via your credit card. You are then doubly protected since paypal has claim and dispute functions (which take forever and pretty much suck), but it lets you buy things from regular people while being protected by your credit card.3 -Payment
Never pay in cash, unless it's face to face. Cash is not good to send through the mail, same with money orders. There's no really good system of tracking either.4- Contact Info
Try and get their e-mail address in addition to their username. Some people don't frequent the site as much as others, and some don't have e-mails sent to them when they receive a private message. This means your messages may go unread for days and days and the buyer/seller has no idea your even trying to contact you.
A neat feature of the private message system is the "Outbox". When you log in, and view you private messages you are viewing your in box. Up top there are different sections. Private messages that you send to people are in the "Outbox" until they have been opened. They then get moved to the Sent box.
What this means is, you can tell if people have opened and presumably read your private messages based on whether they are still in the outbox or not.5- Communication!
Keep open communication. Be a good seller, and give your buyer a time frame your going to ship things to them. If you miss that time frame- LET THEM KNOW! It's courteous, and people really appreciate it. Update your buyer with tracking numbers if you have them, or let them know the item has been shipped. If your the buyer, let the seller know the package has arrived and that everything is A-Okay or if there's some sort of issue.
If anyone else has anything to add, please feel free to do so.