I didn't know it was so difficult to get products (used) into America when purchasing from Canada. That is interesting and good to know.
For me, the issue is protection in purchasing. I prefer to purchase close to home so that I may actually go and see/hear the product operate before purchasing and to make sure the item isn't stolen. So, I ask for a copy of the receipt or some assurance that it isn't hot. That said, if I can't get the item from nearby, depending on the costs, I will send a check and cross my fingers hoping that the seller will be honorable. Paypal is a royal pain but if it holds the funds in an escrow type account until the purchaser states that the item arrived in the condition that it was originally listed, then that would be the way to go. If paypal releases the funds to the seller before the purchaser can make such as assessment, then it is a waste of time.
So, the issue is confidence and buyer protection. One hears so many stories about scammers, that it is really wise to be careful. The only things I have purchased from overseas were out of production transistors.
I remember the old saying that if it appears too good to be true, it typically is. So, I've seen overseas sales where the prices were way lower than what is advertised in America. That worries me. Also, when the seller post generic company pictures, instead of pictures of the actual product with the serial numbers, that worries me.
I also imagine that overseas purchases of items may void any transferrable warranties. That would not be good.
I would however, buy from overseas companies that manufacturer and distribute their products. Also, positive feedback on audiogon is important.
But my preferences would be.
1. Purchase from nearby with cash and see/hear the product.
2. Purchase from America, using Paypal or cash depending on the cost of the product, after much back and forth correspondence and verbal communication with the seller to help lessen my fears.
3. Purchase from the manufacturer or distributer overseas only if I can't find that product in America.
4. Purchase from seller overseas only after much correspondence and communication with the seller and using some sort of pay escrow account for protection. I know, the seller would then take more of the risk because the item would arrive prior to the seller receiving the released funds, but it does protect the buyer more.
Also, one has to consider import customs fees, tariffs and import taxes and possible nightmares at the customs offices.