Ebay LP Purchases

I am just getting back into vinyl after many years. There are a number of albums from the 1970's I would like to (re)purchase. What has been your experience on buying used vinyl on ebay? Any tips or warnings? Do sellers overstate the condition? Thanks in advance.
The Ebay market is vast, every kind of seller exists there. I've bought many Ebay lp's and they've run the gamut from some with overstated condition that were a waste of money to great bargains. Basically, I think you can pay primo dollar for lps from reputable sellers with long track records or take a gamble on new sellers that offer the potential bargain. I find no one play grades lp's, so there's always a bit of a gamble. However, the best sellers offer unconditional refunds if you're not happy. I've bought over a hundred lps from one of my favorite sellers of classical vinyl and I've asked for refunds on two or three lps that were visually graded M- but played noisily. One time I hit a great streak of vinyl buying when the brother of a lp collector inherited the collector's estate and decided to try and sell the lp's himself on Ebay. He eventually got fed up with how much work it all took for the return, but it was great while it lasted. I was buying mint lps from him in batches of 10-20 lps and paying $1-2 per lp. If you can find newbie sellers with great product that haven't established a seller's track record that lets them get top dollar for their listings, you can get in on a short term good buyer's market.
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If someone has good feedback on the grading, I would have no problems dealing with them. I'd say about 90% of the records I've bought were accurately graded. The ones that weren't were cheap enough that I didn't really care. I would worry more if I were buying something relatively rare and expensive. For the most part, I consider my Ebay record purchases a positive experience. BTW, there are also a lot of people right here selling some great stuff, so I would check first.
I could not imagine buying a used LP from anyone over the internet that I could not physically take out of the jacket and inspect for myself New and sealed however are no problem.

I guess I am fortunate to live in an area that has used record shows 6-7 times a year. There are also many shops where I can obtain used vinyl. At an average of $2.00 an album, I have up to three copies of some titles I really like - all in very good to pristine condition.

I do not know where you live Teeshot, but start checking google for used record shows and shops in or near your area. Also, do not overlook Goodwill, Thrift Shops and 1/2 Price book stores as they have used record departments. I once found a mint copy of Supertramps Paris double record album for $1.50 at a 1/2 Price Book Store. I swear the records were never even played. Good luck and have fun - used record scrounging is a blast.
I have had good luck with ebay. Like others have said stay with reputable sellers (high feedback)and you should be fine. That being said no matter where you buy used vinyl you are assuming some risk.

try to buy at least several from the same seller to save on shipping. $4 per record? Gimme break coz I can buy for $4 at the local store
Look for sellers with plenty of positive feedback whose history is exclusively in selling records. Many of the better sellers have play-graded their records. If they haven't, you can ask them to play the record. If they won't or can't, move on. I've bought several hard to find--and, alas, expensive--records using this method, and I've only been stung once.
I usually don't buy off of E-Bay, but I am trying to complete my Mobile Fidelity and Nautilus LP collections and E-Bay has had alot of the titles I needed.

I must be lucky because over the past 6 months I have bought probably around 100 LPs and all of them have been perfect, (or at least the condition they were listed). I haven't purchased any regular records, so I can't comment on those sellers.

I also try to buy different titles from the same seller.

Some of the packaging has been horrible, but the LPs arrived okay. I just don't get some of the sellers lack of proper packaging...it's not rocket science. That's my only complaint, so far, about buying on E-Bay.
Stick to NM or sealed OOP from reputable sellers. I have spent over $30k over the past two years on eBay since I got back into vinyl. Of all the transactions only a few were inaccurately described condition wise. When you buy below true NM condition, you run a greater risk of inaccurately described condition.
Sound advice from Rockitman. I recently got back into vinyl and I only buy NM to sealed condition. I've had good luck so far.
I buy alot of used lps off ebay (Amazon is another good source). IMO, the safest is to buy from a large store that grades using goldmine standards. Next, buy only M or NM graded lps. If its not M or NM I ask for return or refund or partial refund. It is nearly always honored. When an lp is graded VG or EX or great shape, it leaves too much room for interpretation. But M or NM does not leave any such room. Most vendors on Ebay do not want to risk a negative feedback over $10 or $15. So th safest is to buy that way. But I have found some great deals on lps from individuals who are unloading their collections. You have to take a chance on the quality of th grading, but snagging a few great titles for a few bucks is strong incentive to ignor the occational bad buy. Cheers and good luck.
watch out for knock offs from foreign countries.Usually recorded from a cd source.
IME, ebay is a good place to buy used records. One thing I would say, though, is not to pay any attention whatsoever to feedback, unless it is very bad. There are many great sellers on there who's feedback ratings have been damaged by idiots. That said, there are many bad sellers on there, too, who have great feedback ratings. So I don't pay any attention to it. If I have a good experience with a seller, I go back to them again, and if I don't, I don't. People get way too worked up over the feedback rating stuff. I have been happy with almost every transaction I have had there, and the one time I wasn't, the guy made me a great deal on something else (the problem was not something he could rectify), and I bought from him again later.
My experience has been mostly good. Stick to reputable sellers. Also, try www.gemm.com. Nothing beats being able to inspect the record before buying, but sometimes you can't get what you want locally. I looked and looked for a copy of Pentangle's first album to no avail in my local record shops and found one from a seller in Italy. It arrived in one week in pristine condition as advertised and for a very good price. YMMV
I have had very good success from ebay sellers fro LP's. Typically as most people would say is to stick to any seller with a high rating (ie 99 %) or given a top rated seller medal of honor so to speak. if the best quality of records meaning of course condition wise, choose the Lp's that have NM or excellent rating. Word of advice is to post your bid 10 to 15 seconds before the auction expires thus giving you a better a chance at winning the auctioned item without starting a bidding war. Most of my purchases have been from North America but have found that sellers from Great Britain are very good as well. To further add to that, shipments from GB arrive quicker to my home (West Coast Canada) than normal ground shipments from the USA. So I do highly recommend sellers from GB. I have good success from a couple of sellers from Japan selling of course Japanese pressed LP's which in my mind and to several others, are sonically superior to most domestic pressings. I did receive a copy of Sticky Fingers (Stones) from Japan that looked like it had been touched up to appear more aesthetically pleasing. Other than that, EBAY purchasing has been more than satisfactory
I have purchased one LP from a seller on Ebay and that was my last purchase. The album was not as represented in the ad, and the cost was not worth the shipping back nor the time to obtain a refund. But it was a good inexpensive lesson. I have bought many here on AudioGon and have very good luck with Mrrecords, WWJDmike, to name a few.
No sooner do I post my positive experience when I get a sealed copy of a record with a small bubble in the middle of one track that would surely tear the stylus off my cartridge if I were to play it. I don't think you have recourse on a sealed LP from a private seller. Well, at least it was only a $10 record. That's the way it goes sometimes.
My Ebay LP buying experience has been very positive. My interest is in jazz from mostly the 50s through 70s. I could wait my entire life and never see an obscure album that I want in a used LP store, but I can go on Ebay and often find it right away. I have certainly purchased a few records where the condition was not up to the rating, but these have been surprisingly rare. I only deal with sellers with 98% or higher rating and I generally stick with US sellers just for reasonable shipping charges.

I find that I would much rather buy used records on Ebay than new records from the big mail order houses. The new records will probably have fewer ticks and pops, but the sound on the old records is nearly always superior.

As for the comment about only buying sealed records, this obviously depends on the music genre. If you want older records, they were all from the days before shrink wrap. More importantly, sealed records are often reissues, and it's just a plain fact that early issues nearly always sound better. So if you limit yourself to sealed records, you are often sacrificing sound quality.
I do ebay, set sales, buy lots of new music and do discogs.com. I buy from stores, both new and used stuff.

Also have run a record label, Load Records , though its noisy music and this forum does seem to trend towards tamer sounds.
Thanks for the informative responses. I am heartened that so many people have had good experiences.
I have used both EBay and Amazon. I found Amazon to be easier to deal with especially when it comes to returns. BUT, you should remember that what is VG+ or E to you may not match the sellers criterion. I have found that most dealers on line are giving a visual rating. Just because it looks good doesn't mean is sounds good. I always send an email asking the seller to play the record and report on the condition before I buy.

Searching for vinyl becomes an addiction that borders on obsession so buying from a brick and mortor store where you can physically listen to the record before you buy is the best way to obtain quality vinyl.
I think Ebay recently tighten up the selling standards and threatened to cut off sellers who get bad feedback as I was told by a few dealers I bought from.I look for close to 100% positive and a return policy.Also if in doubt I ask questions.So far I've been doing very well,or course there will be a dishonest seller overgrading rubbish but with return policy you only lose postage.I find Ebay today pretty good,I far cry from 20 years ago buying from Goldmine,incredible overgraded rubbish,I just stopped.
With the demise of the $1.00 no reserve auctions on Audiogon I am basically out of business here. I have had to return to eBay, Amazon and Gemm. Hoping to see the return of the $1.00 no reserve part of Audiogon, but I am going to hold my breath on that one. So the three K i was spending with Audiogon has now gone elsewhere.
As with anything you need to buy from trusted sellers, that said I buy all my used vinyl from Discogs.com and record shops.

If you live in a rural area, find the closest large city and go record shopping.

I have afew record stores in Houston that I frequent, one of them specializes in used vinyl. I am a couple hours away, so I drive up and make a day out of it.