Yes, I can not emphasize enough the importance of getting the model number
for the Thinkpad and to ask for sufficient wrapping
When I bought my T42 from a Norwegian variant of CraigsList, the ad had a picture of a 14" unit. When I got the laptop, it was stuffed in a box with no wrapping, and not even turned off, just put to sleep.
Amazingly it was not damaged, and it turned out to be a 15" unit. The downside was that it had a XP install meant for a Dell, so no drivers for any Thinkpad functions. I downloaded and installed the drivers, but a person with no computer knowledge would have been stuck there with a laptop with no wireless, no volume/hotkeys, no Active Protection, etc. I sent the seller a nasty email, but since I got a very cheap and decent looking 15" unit, I didn't go further with it. While typing this post I did a search, and the same seller is still selling T42's, using the SAME pictures as he did 1.5 year ago. But now he has been kind enough to add the text "15 inch", for those who know what that refers to. And his T42s are apparently made in 2006/2007.. (Norwegians, if any here, can PM me to get to know who this seller is)
1) Insist the seller DOES NOT label the package with it's contents. I once recieved an A31 battery in an envelope that was marked "laptop battery" all over it. Not suprisingly, the envelope had been cut open, and included a note "it came this way"
I take it that the battery was gone? Things done with the best intents, don't always turn out to be such a good idea. A friend of mine once got a control module for his car shipped in box marked: "Careful! Expensive parts inside" The part was still there, so we laughed and found it to be hilarious that someone could actually mark it like that..