A Guide to Buying and Selling Private Number Plates
Whether you are looking for advice before buying your first private number plate or you want to more about how to go about selling one, read our guide below for everything you need to know.
Buying from a number plate dealer
Once you’ve decided on a number plate that you’d like, contact the dealer to make a purchase. The quickest way to search is going online but there are often adverts from dealers in the daily papers.
Purchases can take place either online or over the phone. You may even be able to find a local number plate dealer if you’d prefer to conduct a physical transaction face-to-face.
It’s possible to order through an online dealer’s secure website but beware of hidden costs. Private number plates are subject to VAT. There will also be a DVLA fee of £80 or £105 depending on the circumstances. Some websites don’t make it clear what the total charge will be.
Many dealers are contactable by phone, which will allow you to ask any questions and agree a total price up front. You can also ask about delivery or collection of the number plate, returns policies and so on.
Don’t forget to ask about the physical number plates themselves. These are sometimes not included in the sale automatically, but your dealer should be able to supply them if you ask.
For peace of mind, it’s recommended that you purchase from a member of the CNDA (Cherished Numbers Dealers Association) which is the official governing body. It’s linked with the Retail Motor Industry which means you’ll have some recourse if you have trouble with your purchase that can’t be resolved directly with the dealer.
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Your dealer may ask you for a deposit of around 20% of the value of the plate to secure your chosen number plate whilst you send them your V5C car registration. You should also receive a receipt of your purchase.
Buying from a private number plate seller
Buying from a private seller may be cheaper, but it’s also riskier. There’s no external governing body to mediate should the seller refuse to supply the product or refund your money.
If you decide to buy from a private seller, you’ll need to do your research and ensure that you’re aware of all the current legal regulations and how to comply with them. The DVLA form you’ll need to transfer the registration mark is called a V317 – Apply to Transfer or Retain a Registration and is downloadable from the DVLA website.
How to sell my number plate
First, you’ll need to obtain a plate valuation. Your dealer will be able to provide this for you. There are free valuation calculators online but these aren’t always accurate, so it’s best to speak to a dealer.
Your dealer will advertise your number plate for you. The dealer will typically ask you to provide your V5C registration, current MOT and check that your tax is current. Your dealer should take care of supplying all relevant documentation to the DVLA and will be happy to explain the process to you.
Again, it’s recommended that you sell through a CNDA member for peace of mind.
It will cost you a little more to buy or sell through a dealer as they will charge fees for their services so you should expect them to be able to answer your questions and talk you through the buying process. They can also advise you on how to get the certificate assigned correctly and ensure you comply with DVLA regulations.
Unless you’re buying a private number plate from a reliable friend or relative, it’s not recommended to buy a number plate privately.
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