For many people, a pre-owned Omega watch is one of the most expensive things they will buy online, sight unseen. How can you ensure that you're getting what you're paying for, and how do you protect yourself from unscrupulous sellers?

"Buy the Seller"
- In the watch collecting community, this is rule number 1. Before committing to buy, you must be able to trust the seller. Make sure that an independent 3rd party can vouch for your seller. Verifiable business credentials help. Customer feedback helps as well

"Buy from the USA (or wherever country you're in)"
Its generally a good idea to stick with US sellers, for the following reasons:
- Shipping costs are passed on to you by foreign sellers, even if shipping is "free"
- You may get charged customs duty on an imported watch. You'll never get your customs duty back even if you return a faulty watch
- It's much harder to return a faulty watch to your overseas seller
- Generally speaking, foreign sellers are beyond the reach of US law 

"Descriptions are Your Friend"
- Make sure important information about the watch you are interested in is included, such as descriptions of physical condition against a known scale, watch timing, and service history. Many sellers will omit this information in the hopes that the buyer is not smart enough to ask, or use or will use purposefully vague words to misrepresent what they are selling
- Avoid sellers that purposely omit important information or use purposefully vague descriptions

"Email is Your Friend"
- When negotiating a price or asking for verification about watch condition, emails leave a trail which helps if a deal goes south, spoken words over the phone do not.

"Know the Terms"
- Make sure that you read and understand the terms and conditions of sale to avoid any issues down the line if a return needs to be made. Especially important is what can be returned (many sellers do not accept returns unless the watch is significantly not as described), the return period, and what is refunded when a watch is returned. Many sellers will not refund outbound shipping. Other sellers will charge restocking fees. 
- We highly discourage buying from any seller that does not have clear and documented terms of sale.

"Transact Safely"
- Pay using a safe method, such as through a secure ecommerce website with a credit card. If paying by Paypal to an individual, always insist on an invoice, or better yet a contract of sale, and never "Paypal gift". 
- Paying by wire should be avoided if possible, especially if you personally do not know the seller
- Use work or school email addresses when ordering online whenever possible. These are less prone to hacking than "free" email accounts such as Yahoo and Gmail. It also reduces "red flags" on fraud prevention software that many legitimate sellers use.

"Inspect Immediately"
- Make sure you're got the watch you paid for immediately after you receive it. Sellers of pre-owned watches have a limited return period (many have none at all)

"If You're Returning it, Don't Use It"
- Even the best fine watch scratches easily. Wearing a watch for even a short period basically ensures you'll get scratches on it. Many watches will have their value reduced by hundreds to even thousands of dollars at the slightest sign of wear. Many fine watch sellers will not accept returns that have been worn.

"Leave Feedback"
- Help the next fine watch buyer by leaving feedback on your transaction whenever possible