Believe it or not but I get this question a lot. As you might know by reading this blog, I buy a lot of hardware on Ebay. I also sell hardware on Ebay but we will talk about tat later. I have had some e-mails from people asking me if they should trust the China and Honk Kong sellers.
I have bought several items from sellers abroad. Basically the same rules for US sellers apply, make sure they have good feedback. I also try not to buy from a seller with a low feedback number, not that these sellers might be bad but the way you build feedback is not only by selling but also by buying. The feedback score is important but sometimes it also helps to just sit back and read some of the feedback. In some cases a buyer might expect to have the product within three or four days. This is silly because it usually takes up to two weeks for items to get to the US.
Also keep in mind that for big-ticket items you might have to pay some duties. This might also be the reason an item is held up at customs. I have bought quit a few items from overseas sellers and I ave yet to run into a problem. In many cases it is as simple as using common sense. The “if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is” rule also apply’s. If you are buying an item for 3/4 less than what you would pay in the US, then you are buying a fake. Ebay is very good at keeping fakes out of the Ebay system, but sometimes one just slips trough.
Some of the items could also be illegal to ship to the US. These items don’t make it passed customs and get thrown out by them (or is some cases burned).
The biggest thing here is use common sense.