Two Martins, a Gibson, a Larrivee, and several vintage Yamaha -- two from Reverb, two from kijiji, two from guitar forum classifieds, and one vender's used section (web). 's all good.
Common sense, and lack of greed will likely get you thru just fine. Ask polite questions, get thorough pic's (blurry/low res' is a red flag), and listen to your gut. Maintenance & repair history are things to remember to ask about. And play ability/action at 12th.
Too good to be true often is. I like to keep to emails for reference, but a quick phone call can be helpful too. Any high-end guitar that's a steal warrants caution. Half retail is good, and what I look for. Those desirable Martins/Gibsons/Collings/Taylors? for 1/3 retail often make my spidey senses
tingle. If you're not out to rip somebody off, price wise, there's less chance you'll be. Good deals abound presently. Market's very soft imo. I've never had a guitar shipped in dead of winter btw.
Shipping/packaging can be downright scary. Experience is a plus. And that's where asking questions comes in. Get a feel for the seller. (I send pic's of packaging for buyers approval/peace of mind.)
The local 'chain' discourages/refuses (folks that look like me anyways from) trying their guitars. I was forced to adapt. I've done very well. And I'm not the sharpest pencil in the box.
I've sold (kijiji) both Martins, and both buyers were very happy with the shipping, and value. I still get occasional updates, Youtube videos, and thank yous.
The very best of luck in your quest!
(Oh, and if
cross-border shipping? Know your woods, and check on CITES reg's. It's not just rosewood -- mahoganies, ebony, and others too -- not just main woods but bridges/fb etc. too. Another good reason to look first in Canada. International purchases would really benefit from an experienced seller, and your own due diligence.)
I'll shut up now.