FAQs on private number plates

DVLA generates an alphanumeric registration mark sequence for every vehicle registration. Since 1903, when number plates were first made compulsory, the registration mark has grown from just two characters to the current seven. Whenever you have sufficiently long random permutations, there are bound to be ones that are somewhat readable or symbolic. These permutations are what we now call personalised number plates or private plates (or cherished plates, for the older folks). Still unclear on the concept? Check out our quick fire FAQs below.



1. Why do you need to get a personalised plate?


You don’t need to. However, since every vehicle in the UK is required by law to display a registration mark, you can stand out from the crowd by using a personalised plate instead of using the random alphanumeric combination provided by DVLA. It’s becoming a pretty trendy status symbol these days among the younger demographic. Also, cherished plates can mask the age of your car since there is no age identifier.


2. How expensive are personalised plates?


Like everything else, it will be as expensive as you’d like them to be. Basic private reg are sold for just a few hundred pounds while extremely unique and dateless ones can go into five, six or seven figures!


3. Where should you go to get private plates?


The best and most reliable place to get one is using DVLA’s online auction site. It’s the largest collection anywhere online, and transactions are simple and safe. Other places to buy include reseller websites, auctions and even classified ads. As always, exercise caution when dealing with unknown parties. Seek the help of a solicitor if you are planning on spending big.


4. Are there any hidden fees when buying private plates?


If you’re buying from DVLA, you only need to pay £80 for an assignment or retention fee, as well as VAT. If you’re buying from elsewhere, you may need to pay a commission, broker’s fee or finder’s fee. Please ask for the applicable fee in writing before committing to any purchase.


5. Why can’t I purchase a new 2019 private plate for my 2010 car?

The present number plate format uses an age identifier which demonstrates the age of any car at a glance. Buying newer plates would give your car the appearance of being younger than it is, and could induce potential buyers to pay more than the real value of the car. This is the reason DVLA forbid newer plates from being assigned to older cars. You’re still free to use a cherished plate on your car though since there is no age identifier.


So, are you ready to get your new personal license plate?



Nicole Murphy

47 South Street MOCKBEGGAR TN12 0EL

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