From Canada, I've made a fair number of US purchases via eBay. I only use bank-issued US$ money orders. Most sellers will accept these and, by doing so, have ample opportunity to play dirty. None have to date. Payment is always sent by trackable letter. They save PayPal fees. I loathe PayPal but will have to use it if and when I sell anything on eBay. Some sellers are rigid about CONUS-only sales and/or make a huge fuss about Customs forms(?) or kite shipping charges. Those I avoid. Cash is private, something sellers seem to appreciate as much as I do. I'm never in a hurry but have never had a seller dawdle about bank clearance. Perhaps I have a nose for honest sellers but I've never(touch wood)been diddled in a US eBay auction.
Why, might I ask, do you loathe Paypal? Their fees are trivial and they provide protection to both buyer and seller. seems well worth it to me. I think you have been very lucky using money orders.