For people who cannot find a suitable personalised number plate at DVLA’s auction site, the next best option is to buy the plate from a name plate or car dealer. If you are intimidated at the prospect of dealing with them, don’t be. You just need to be aware of a few things to ensure you are not caught by surprise.
You cannot assign number plates that are ‘younger’ than your vehicle. Name plate dealers also have to run the registration through the DVLA, so even they cannot help you to circumvent the rules.
It is always a good idea to get all the payable cost in writing. Ask your name plate dealers for all the fees that you will be charged with prior to giving a commitment to buy. Specifically, ask about their fees. As far as the DVLA is concerned, there are only a couple of fees: an assignment fee of £80, and an annual retention fee of £25 if you are not planning on using the number plate immediately. If the dealer is being intentionally vague or hesitant about putting the cost in writing, it’s probably time for you to reconsider the deal. Oh, and remember to budget for VAT – private number plate sales are subject to VAT.
When you purchase a number plate from DVLA, they will mail the physical acrylic plates to you directly. However, when you are buying from dealers, you will have to order the plates on your own. Most dealers will provide you with a V948 certificate without asking. Use to certificate to place an order at a DVLA approved number plate supplier.
If matters are not cleared in advance, payment could become a contentious issue. Decide firmly, well in advance, the percentage of deposit you will be paying, and the date of the complete payment. Insists on a written contract and payment receipt – these can be useful in cases of dispute. If you are making payment online, please ensure that the payment portal is secure and reputable. If you are uncertain about any aspect of the payment process, seek a second opinion.
Check the reputation of the prospective dealer before you even speak to him or her when you look for private number plates for sale. Find out if the dealer is a member of the Cherished Numbers Dealers Association (CNDA). If they are not, find dealers who are. Read reviews and ratings. Perform a comprehensive search on search engines to see if the dealer has any previous issue.
It is okay to be slow and cautious when making a decision. Experience dealers will understand this, and will not engage in pressure tactics to close the deal.