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The Do’s & Don’ts of Buying Private Number Plates in the UK

posted by Chris Valentine

It’s not just the rich and the famous who buy them. Private number plates have sparked public’s interest, with approximately 335,000 personalized registration plates being sold in the UK each year, according to the latest reports.

Despite this, many motorists are still unaware of the various rules and regulations governing number plate registrations. We’ve put together a list of the do’s and dont’s that you need to observe to get the best private number plates at the most reasonable prices.

The Do’s

1. Set a Budget

Personalized number plates don’t come cheap, and are available at a wide range of prices.

Pricing starts online from £250 all the way to £2500 for private plates, but at auction, prices can rise higher depending on the demand. Having a budget in mind helps to ensure you’re not overspending on number plates.

2. Be Flexible

Suppose you have set a budget of £400 for a personalized number plate. But upon inquiring with your broker, you find out the price has increased to £500—slightly higher than your budget but still affordable.

What do you do? Stretch your budget.

If you choose to stick tight to your budget, you may end up losing that opportunity to buy your personalized number plate of choice. Keep in mind that the prices of private number plates change from time to time.

3. Use Recognizable Dealers

To be on the safe side, always buy private number plates from DVLA recognized dealers or brokers.

When you buy your own personalised registration plates from a recognized dealer, you will have peace of mind knowing that the process will be managed in accordance with the existing number plates transfer rules.

4. Be Clear on the Style You Want

UK vanity plates come in four styles. These include:

  • Dateless style
  • Suffix style
  • Prefix style
  • Current style

Being knowledgeable of the different styles can help you choose the best one for you in terms of combinations while helping you stay within your budget. For instance, the dateless style is currently the most preferred by motorists but also the most expensive of all.

The Don’ts

1. Don’t Use a Plate Before Assigning It

Keep in mind that it’s illegal to display a personalized number plate that has not been assigned to your vehicle. We know how tempting it can be to swap your number plate right away and drive away with a new one.

However, doing so can get you into serious trouble if pulled over by the police. Always ensure you’ve filled out all the paperwork, paid the DVLA fee, and received official confirmation of the right to use your new number plate.

2. Don’t Ignore the Fees

Before committing to buy a personalized number plate, be aware of the fact that you’re actually going to pay higher than the advertised price.

The DVLA charges an assignment fee and a change of details fee on all personalized license plates, not to forget the fact that many dealers also add VAT. Added together, the extra fees can significantly increase the price and force you to stretch your budget.

If you’re thinking about getting a personalized registration plate, this guide will help you get through the process.

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