The first step in buying from a number plate dealer is to find the private number plate that's suitable for you. People look for plates which contain their name or part of their name, their initials, the make or model of the car, a business name, favourite sport, town they live in, something amusing or anything that they feel will personalise their car. Sometimes plates are purchased as an investment and we've seen the price paid for some plates rise dramatically over the years, but as with any investment, prices can also fall. Use the search box above to search for your ideal number plate or just to get some ideas.
Remember you can't use a number plate to make a vehicle appear newer than it is (have a look at the way the year of issue is shown on a number plate). Also, decide on your price range. Private plates are subject to VAT - so check whether this is to be added on or whether it is included in the price already. Beware of some dealers who fail to make the total price clear until right at the end of the buying process.
All transactions are subject to a DVLA fee of £80 per plate. DVLA fees are not subject to VAT. Again, make sure you know what you will be paying in total.
The actual acrylic plates are often not included when you purchase a registration so you should enquire about these when you buy your registration. All reputable dealers will be able to supply them directly to you as they have the appropriate documentation and they will also have direct access to a registered number plate supplier. Alternatively you can have your own made up at a registered number plate supplier. The supplier will need to see documentation which proves your name and address and that you are allowed to use the registration number. The DVLA website has details of the appropriate documentation that you would need to show a registered number plate supplier to have number plates made for your car.
Many people buy number plates online and reputable dealers provide their customers with a secure site which allows online ordering. If you are paying on-line, as with any on-line purchase, check that the site is secure and that the company is reputable.
If you prefer to discuss your purchase, then most dealers are happy to discuss your purchase on the phone. Dealers have a vast amount of experience at matching plates to people for a range of budgets. Again, don't be afraid to ask about additional payments, timescales and money-back guarantees etc.
It's a good idea to buy from a member of the Cherished Numbers Dealers Association (CNDA) - this is the main governing body of the industry. CNDA is affiliated to the Retail Motor Industry which provides an arbitration service in the unlikely event that things go seriously wrong and you can't resolve your complaint with the company direct. Visit the CNDA website.
Dealers should confirm your purchase in writing (by email), after asking for a deposit to secure your chosen number plate while you send in the necessary documentation. The deposit should usually be no more than 10% to 20%. This should be fully refundable in the event that the transaction does not proceed. Every number plate is unique and dealers cannot always guarantee that a number plate is available.
The documentation that is usually requested is your V5C (registration certificate or log book). The Dealer should then check on the DVLA website that the vehicle tax and MOT status are up-to-date.
If the personal number plate has never been on a vehicle, then it will be supplied as an V75 (Certificate of Entitlement). In this case, you will be asked for a "nominee". This is the name of the keeper of the vehicle to which the registration will eventually be assigned.
Usually, the V75 (Certificate of Entitlement) can be sent to you along with a letter of instruction as to how to assign the plate, however, some V75 (Certificate of Entitlement)'s cannot be released since they are in a "third party" name. If you are not ready to assign the private number plate to your vehicle, ask the dealer if the V75 (Certificate of Entitlement) can be released to you. If not, arrangements can be made to hold the V75 (Certificate of Entitlement) until you can supply suitable documents.
The majority of dealers accept major debit and credit cards and cheques as payment.
If you have found the ideal personal number plate but you can't quite afford it, ask the dealer if they provide number plate finance. National Numbers provide several finance options, including zero interest finance and normal credit agreements.
All the above is included for your interest, but remember - when you buy through a dealer, you are buying from the experts. Let them organise everything for you - that's what you're paying them for!
Lastly, it's a good idea to check that your chosen dealer has a good after sales service.
Last updated: Thursday 18th January 2018
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