Rating: 3 / 5
Congratulations, you won! says the email. And there's a fair chance that you got a good deal. Because of the structure and permuted feedback policies, it is getting harder to tell who is a "standup kind of seller" and who is not.
It's true ebay is not a homogeneous entity, and you deal with each seller individually. Sometimes you can find real deals. Other times, with the size of the ebay market and relatively specialized Ultralight weight backpacking, it is pretty easy to get a seller that either does not know what they have, or may not accurately represent it.
The real catch with ebay is to find reputable sellers with good feedback and a reasonable number of reporting auctions. It is also easy to get hijacked by sellers who only provide positive feedback after you have provided them positive feedback. (If you paid the money and provided a valid shipping address, shouldn't they give you + feedback?)
I'm finding more often I can find the same or very similar gear from reputable on-line dealers at similar cost, without the risks, and with a track record of customer service.