eBay is just noise, not serious competition. So much stuff there is complete junk, a video dumping ground, including all the so-called "tested" and "working" items (HA!).
(I think you're just joking, but wanted to add this anyway.)
honestly i've never been really burned by ebay. the svhs player i bought is a little rougher than i would like but it works (i think it just needs a cleaning). i also grabbed an es-15 with remote for like $150 CAD.
i wouldn't drop like $2000 on pro level stuff though. for that i think it almost always makes sense to buy from an enthusiast. unless you can find it astronomically cheap from like an estate sale or something, then its worth the gamble.