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As a buyer, the best thing that you can do when using an online auction site is to get to know the seller. Since the seller is essentially the interface that you have with the product, it is essential that you get to know them and their reputation in order to minimize your risk. Take the time to read through the seller's online reviews, and email any users who have had problems with them. You should also search through the seller's other auctions to make sure that the goods that they are offering are of consistent type and quality. Before bidding, drop the seller a short email just to touch bases with them and get a basic feel of their response time. Most reliable sellers will want to be paid through a service like Paypal, while less reputable sellers will want to receive payments in cash. Make sure that you establish a return policy - in writing - with the seller and agree to a fee for shipping before you begin bidding.