The first step in buying from a number plate dealer is to find the private number plate that's suitable for you. Use the search box above to search for your ideal number plate or just get some ideas.
Remember you can't use a number plate to make a vehicle appear newer than it is. 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 DVLA fees - the fee is normally £80 (vehicle to vehicle) or £105 if the mark is currently being held on a certificate. DVLA fees are not subject to VAT. However, make sure you know what you will be paying in total.
The actual acrylic plates are often not included so enquire about these as well. All reputable dealers will be able to supply them direct to you.
If you feel confident ordering online, dealers provide their customers with a secure site which allows online ordering. However, make sure you read their terms and again make sure of your total outlay.
If you prefer to discuss your purchase, then good dealers provide a friendly sales line as well. Again, don't be afraid to ask about anything that occurs to you, including 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, 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 will be fully refundable in the event that the transaction does not proceed.
The documentation usually requested is your V5C (registration certificate or log book); MOT (if applicable) and a photocopy only of your current tax disc. If your vehicle isn't taxed, you will be asked for a tax application since DVLA will not transfer a private registration to an untaxed vehicle.
STOP PRESS:- The government have stated their aim to phase out paper tax discs, so in future tax will be checked online only.
If the personal number plate has never been on a vehicle before, then it will be supplied as an entitlement certificate. In this case, you will be asked for a "nominee". This is the name of the keeper of the vehicle to which the mark will eventually be assigned.
Usually, the previously mentioned certificate can be sent to you along with a letter of instruction as to how to assign the plate to your vehicle at your local DVLA office.
However, some certificates 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 certificate can be released to you. If not, arrangements can be made to hold the certificate until you can supply suitable documents.
Dealers accept major debit and credit cards as payment. Most dealers still accept cheques but will clear them first.
If you are buying a personalised registration on a DVLA issued certificate and live in Northern Ireland, the process is a little more complicated and will cost more.
Conversely, if your chosen mark is on a DVLNI certificate (i.e. issued in Northern Ireland) and your vehicle is registered on the DVLA computer (i.e. you live in England, Scotland or Wales) then this will cost more too. Good dealers will offer to handle these types of transactions for you.
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, buy now pay later, and normal credit agreements; as well as a unique in-house personal loan scheme.
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 consider a dealer's after sales service. Find out whether there is an admin line to use for communications connected to the purchase. You might want to find out when this is open, and if it's possible to send emails to the company.
Last updated: Wednesday 12th March 2014
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