Depends on where you buy from. If eBay check the customer reviews for that seller and read alot of them someone may have bought same item as you are looking at and put a review their thoughts on the product up. The customer reviews usually have how fast the shipping was to give you an idea of when to expect it.
you can't, really.
i had bought an original hood scoop for an old mach 1 mustang on ebay. obviously this was not a cheap item. description and pictures said it was in great shape, ready to bolt on. what i got was a trashed piece of garbage, and clearly not stuff that happened during shipping. the packaging it came in was fine. when i disputed the claim with the seller, he refused to refund me my money saying the scoop was fine. so i took it to paypal. paypal told me the description given on ebay was accurate and refused to refund my money. this is without them ever having seen the scoop, ask for pictures of the scoop, nothing.
on the flip side, i bought an original center console for a 69 mercury cougar on ebay. irreplaceable item, nobody repops them. when i got the package, it was shattered into a million pieces due to poor packaging. i took pictures, sent them to the seller and he worked with me to get the post office to pay out the insurance he had put on it. in all reality, they should have never accepted the package the way it was wrapped, but that's a good example as to why the postal service is in the shape it's in today.
it's always a gamble buying something sight unseen over the internet. most folks are decent enough, but there are plenty of scammers who just want your money as well.
I've bought a ton of items online, and I guess I got scammed more by the seller, but Paypal still screwed me. The seller sent me a DVD that didn't work, you could tell it was a rip off, so I sent it back. The seller would not refund my money, so I asked Paypal to start a claim and refund me. Long story short, neither of them did. So I payed $40 (it was a set) for absolutely nothing.
I've used paypal to sell and buy things, only had one issue, but I had a few people track the guy down, and he ended up paying me back. (his now "Ex" did chargebacks on their cards on everything he had bought)....he payed paypal with that card, and paypal did an "investigation" and still said that I was shit outta luck, so I got on the forums, and found some people with more time on their hands than I...they got him to contact me and western union the money.
I don't accept paypal for selling items any more...unless I list them on ebay, b/c then paypal is more likely to side with the seller.
I only use craigslist to meet up with seriel killers. ha. well not really I buy plenty of stuff on craigslist too.
You can't protect yourself with PayPal. The service is awful and the customer service is even worse.
However, you can protect yourself against PayPal. Pay via a credit card, any discrepancies, then you chargeback the purchase. What will happen is PayPal is then the one screwed out of the money. Your account does go into the negative and it does become closed out, however, you can always just reopen a new one and become reverified.
Try to not link it to a bank account (they'll take money out if there is a dispute) and that goes the same for large limit credit cards (any card used is automatically linked). Use zero-balance accounts and low-limit high-protection credit cards.
Don't pay through the mail with a cashiers check or money order, there is no STOP.
__________________ It's got a Willy's body, a Chevy engine, Ford axles, GM transmission, and Dodge steering components... it must be a Wrangler.