I've studied "confidence" scams, & I'm surprised at how easily people talk themselves into some "sure thing" or "incredible deal." I mean, buying a NEW N4 off Alibaba for $268, when they sell USED from legit dealers for $1,700? Or those "Les Pauls" (usually "from Gibson's China factory," which doesn't exist) for $350?
If it looks too good to be true, it's PROBABLY NOT.
Sure, there ARE bargains to be had. I know a guy who's been pro since about 1970, & you've never heard of him. Yet someone liked one of his shows so much that they GAVE him -- as in FREEBIE -- a pristine Rickenbacker 360.
I'm not half so cool as him, but I've gotten a Harmony Rocket & a Framus Strato in much the same manner.
When you go poking around online, though, all bets are off. Yeah, I got the JB-80 for less than half book value, & that was sheer stupid luck.
It's bad enough on eBay (you're a LOT safer on Reverb, but that's not saying much), but when you go to Alibaba & worse there are NO guarantees that "what you see is what you'll get" -- more than a few put up photos of the guitar they're trying to copy, so of course you'll see everything looking perfectly authentic BECAUSE IT IS.
IMNSHO, the only valid reason to buy these fakes is in hopes of selling them to someone incredibly stupid. FWIW, that is a Federal crime (a few, actually, like conspiracy & fraud & patent infringement) that can mean hefty fines AND prison time. It's only a matter of time before someone at Homeland Security decides that some fool should be publicly humiliated as a warning...
Sadly this was the right sort of money and I just couldn't find a new one so I (felt I) had no choice but the lesson I've taken from what could have been a very unfortunate experience is to ask somewhere like here BEFORE buying in future and to make sure that I feel I have some recourse via Ebay if he item is 'significantly not as described' which to be fair to Ebay they were great and their buyer protection does work as long as you follow the rules in terms of payment etc which didn't matter so much years ago as Ebay was a different place in terms of the trust element but there are so many scam artists out there now so folk like me need to tread very carefully as I can attest to!
We are in the UK so federal laws obviously don't apply here but we do have counterfeit laws and as he claimed to have two which was why he was selling one as 'he couldn't justify having both' so I think he was fully aware of what he was selling and Ebay may well end up reporting him to the authorities if he doesn't co-operate with them.
All's well that ends well anyhoo.