How Do You Buy Personalised Number Plates?

Owning a personalised number plate, or a private number plate, is no longer beyond reach of most Britons. Certain private plates can be purchased for as low as £99 – although most are priced at several hundred pounds, and the truly unique and pronounceable ones might cost in the five or six figure ranges. If your heart is set on buying a private plate, we’ve listed a couple of ways you can go about it. However, please keep in mind that your dream plate number, such as DAM I4N (Damian), MER 5ON (Merson) or FOS 73R (Foster) are long, long gone – so keep your expectations low, and be creative (as in RO 13ER for Roger, which is also taken).

1. DVLA Auction

DVLA’s online auction offers the widest range of personalised plates around, with more than 45 million choices on offer (including exclusive ones). It is also the safest way to buy number plates. Bidding can be made online, by phone or in person. In addition, DVLA also organise several public auctions annually at hotels or convention centres. High profile number plates are usually listed in these auctions.

Be careful though – all bids are binding. There is a registration process in place for verification, so plan ahead. Prices typically range upwards of £250. Please note that VAT, an 8% Buyer’s Premium (minimum £40) and an Assignment Fee (£80) are applicable on all purchases.

In addition, DVLA is pretty strict about using plates to ‘change’ the ‘age’ of vehicles. As such, buyers are only allowed to assign plates to cars that were registered on or after the age identifier on the plates.

2. Dealer Sales

Many second hand car dealers take advantage of their inventory by switching out attractive number plates with generic ones. The attractive ones are then retained for sales to future customers. If you do buy from a dealer, please ensure that you are provided with either a V778 certificate (retention) or V750 certificate (entitlement). Otherwise, even though you are using the plate on your vehicle, the ownership could still be in their hands.

3. Private Sales

In recent years, it has become increasingly common for individuals to advertise their plates online. On most occasions, the websites will act as broker for a fee. In such cases, please make certain that you are dealing with a reputable site. Do an online search to find out if the website has a reliable reputation (or any at all) before parting with your money. Again, make sure you receive either the V750 or V778 certificates.

Ordering and Installation of Number Plates

When you buy a personalised plate, you won’t get a physical plate mailed to you. Instead, you will need to order the plate on your own. To ensure that you comply with DVLA’s regulations pertaining to plates, please only use accredited suppliers. It is also advisable to ask them to fix the plates to your car.