Scratches remove from the aesthetic value but as long as it holds water, that's all that matters in the beginning.
The appearance of the rest of the equipment is not as important if it's functional.
Everyone has to start somewhere in this hobby.
$100 is perfectly reasonable for 2 complete setups with filter/heater/light.
For a cichlid breeder, he SHOULD know the size of his tanks. I don't think they were 100% honest with you.
I had to endure with looking at fully setup & scratched acrylic tank for well over a year before I had enough & broke it down.
There's so many different grades of equipment, but it's harder to discern the difference when you're new.
I refuse to pay much for BASIC equipment, but for HIGHER end stuff, I have no problem paying 75% of retail depending on it's condition.