Got a question to ask about British Car Registrations? Here’s a quick FAQ covering some of the basics for those approaching the subject for the very first time:
1 – What’s the Point of Personalised Plates?
Exactly what it is that’s most appealing about a personalised plate will differ enormously from one buyer to the next. While there will always be those that simply want to stand out from the crowd and make their vehicle look unique, others are more interested in investing in plates to then sell them on for higher prices at a later time. There are however other benefits that often come along with private plates, which involve hiding the true age of any given car and giving the vehicle an air of prestige which can help make sure it sells for the best price possible. What’s more, private plates are also much easier for their respective owners to remember by heart.
2 – What’s the Legal Status of Private Plates?
The vast majority of private plates are 100% legal, though must be bought and applied in accordance with strict DVLA guidelines…all of which can be found on the official DVLA website. A scheme was introduced some time ago to make it as easy as possible to buy and transfer private plates, though it’s important to ensure all rules are followed. While it remains common practice, using unauthorised fonts or adding coloured bolts to change the appearance of the lettering are in fact illegal practices and can result in fines being issued.
3 – Are Private Plate Sellers Owned by the DVLA?
No – the sites you’ll come across when looking for a private plate are in fact in no way affiliated with the DVLA. Instead, the sellers of the plates are private companies that simply go about the selling and listing processes.
4 – Why Are There So Many Sites Listing the Same Plates?
It’s common to see certain number plates being listed for sale across multiple sites which in many cases can lead to the conclusion being reached that there’s some kind of scam at work. This is in fact not the case at all, however as when it comes to the sites that are selling the plates, more often than not they do not in fact own the plates. Instead, they operate as brokers selling the plates on behalf of their clients, who of course may have asked multiple sites to sell their plates on their behalf. As such, to see the same plate being sold across multiple sites is in fact perfectly normal and no real cause for concern.
5 – Is There a Difference Between a Personalised Plate and a Private Plate?
This is a bit of a grey area these days but in about 99% of cases both terms remain to the same thing. There are some sites and services that draw a line between the two and categorise the plates on offer differently, but these days it’s more common for all such plates to be placed in the same pool and fall under either or both headers.
6 – Is the Buying and Transferring Process Difficult?
This all depends on where you buy your plates from, though in the better examples the answer is a resounding ‘no’. The transfer process involves an amount of paperwork as you have to let the DVLA know about the transfer and get it fully registered, but if you buy from one of the market’s best sellers in the first place, chances are they’ll take care of most or all of the admin side of things on your behalf. What’s more, this will often be included in the purchase price and will not constitute any extra fees being added on.
7 – How Long Does It Take?
The answer to this question again depends on the service you choose in the first place as while some treat all plate sales with equal priority, others aren’t ashamed to keep their clients waiting for quite some time. In all cases however, same-day transfers are no longer possible following a change in DVLA policy, which means in a realistic sense you’ll be looking at about two weeks before you can legally use your new number plates.
8 – Will My Plates Grow in Value?
Exactly how much your plates will be worth in future years comes largely down to their uniqueness and their appeal to other buyers. If, for example, you use your somewhat unusual initials, there won’t be many other buyers that share the same initials and are therefore interested. If, on the other hand, you manage to lock in a plate that displays a common name like ‘Dave’ or ‘John’, then chances are you’ll have much better luck selling it on when the time comes.