Here is what I do. And I do win a lot of auctions and have bought a lot of silver coins off of Ebay with zero issues.
Click on the ad that you want and open the page:
1. Look at the area on the right labeled "seller information".
If their rating is not 99.5% or higher- MOVE ON! 99.5% rating for at least 5000 sales. 99.6% for 2500 or less sales 99.8% or higher for 1000 or less sales.
THIS IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. HONEST AND UPRIGHT SALESMEN WANT GREAT FEEDBACK! AND WILL GO TO ALMOST ANY LENGTH TO ACHIEVE THAT.
SELLERS THAT HAVE EXTREMELY HIGH SALES NUMBERS WILL HAVE SOME NEGATIVE FEEDBACK, ITS INNEVITABLE. BUT AGAIN, IF SOMETHING DOESNT SEEM RIGHT MOVE ON!
2. Click on the sellers name and read through the negative feedback. If something doesn't seem right there IS A REASON. MOVE ON!
3. READ THE FULL DESCRIPTION AND CONDITION OF THE ITEM!!!
IF YOU HAVE MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS AFTER READING THE ITEMS CONDITION, MOVE ON!!
4. THE GOLDEN RULE: IF SOMETHING SEEMS TO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT IS! MOVE ON.
5. ITEM LOCATION: WHERE IS IT SHIPPING FROM? THE OTHER SIDE OF THE PLANET IS NOT A GOOD PLACE TO BUY FROM. TRY AND KEEP IT AS LOCAL AS POSSIBLE.
EXAMPLE: I AM IN THE STATES, I "ONLY" BUY IN THE USA. I KNOW THERE ARE ALOT OF HONEST PEOPLE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE PLANET BUT THERE IS WAY TO MUCH THAT CAN GO WRONG BETWEEN HERE AND THERE. PROBLEMS ARE MORE EASILY RECTFIED IF THEY ARE CLOSER TO HOME.
6. SCROLL DOWN TOO "Item specifics" READ THROUGH THIS SECTION SLOWLY AND CAREFULLY.
7. UPRIGHT SELLERS WILL POST AS MUCH INFORMATION ABOUT THE PRODUCT AS POSSIBLE. TO BE HONEST IF I HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE COIN OR BAR AFTER READING THROUGH ALL THAT, SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT. MOVE ON!!
8. RETURNS: IF THEY STATE, "WE DO NOT ACCEPT RETURNS" MOVE ON!! I HAVE NOT DEALT WITH ONE HONEST SELLER ON EBAY THAT WOULD NOT ACCEPT A RETURN.
I KNOW ITS EBAYS POLICY THAT THEY HAVE TO BUT HONEST SELLERS WILL SAY THEY ACCEPT RETURNS.
9. IF THE PHOTOS SUCK, THERE IS A REASON. MOVE ON!! COINS SHOULD HAVE SEVERAL UP CLOSE PHOTOS SHOWING ALL OF THE DETAIL.
10. IS THE COIN OR BAR IN THE PHOTO THE "ACTUAL COIN OR BAR"? IF ITS A STOCK PHOTO, I WOULD MOVE ON...
I HAVE THIS PROCESS DOWN TO WHERE I CAN VET A SELLER IN JUST A FEW MINUTES BUT TAKE YOUR TIME AND READ THE AD SLOWLY AND CAREFULLY.
REMEMBER IF ANY RED FLAGS GO UP IN YOUR BRAIN, MOVE ON!!
LARGER DOLLAR PURCHASES I WILL ONLY GO THROUGH ONE OF THE LARGER ONLINE DEALERS. SOME OF WHICH ALSO SELL ON EBAY.
REGARDLESS OF WHO I BUY FROM, WHEN I GET IT, IT GETS WEIGHED AND TESTED. ALWAYS...