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I've been in email communication with someone who is selling a Celestron Nexstar 8SE.  The price is right... trouble is, they're in Montana and I'm in Indiana, so inspecting the scope beforehand isn't really an option.  They did send a variety of pictures though.

What are the recommended ways to conduct this transaction safely so that we can both have assurance that we're not trying to scam one another?  I've never made this large of a purchase where shipping is involved.


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What about a video chat over Skype, Zoom or MS Teams?

That way the seller can show you over the scope and if there's anything specific you want to look at or ask them to try then you can see it.

When it comes to paying, I would pay by credit card which may have to be through the likes of PayPal so you have some insurance if something goes wrong or the scope gets damaged in transit.

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Have the seller use Mail Boxes Etc. or similar to do the packing.  Most shippers won't cover in-transit damage unless they or an approved affiliate do the packing.  SCT corrector plates are notoriously delicate and prone to breakage in transit.

I second using a credit card via Paypal or similar to pay for the scope.  Their buyer protections are very strong.

Take photos of the package when it arrives and of the interior as you unpack it.  Alternatively, video the process.  That way, no one can weasel out of damage coverage or try to claim you swapped OTAs to scam the seller.

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