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Tips When Buying Private Number Plates

On the face of it, buying a personalised number plate appears to be a very simple and straightforward task. After all, all you need to do is browse through the listing, find a number plate you like, make payment, and voila, you’re done! However, as many experienced shoppers will tell you, even buying just a single product can become quite a mess if you are not prepared. So we’ve compiled below some tips that will ensure a smoother buying experience.

1. Think of what you want

Sounds simple, but if you don’t have an idea of what you want, you will be easily swayed by the glitz and glitter, and end up purchasing a plate based on how you feel and think at a specific moment of time. That’s not good, because impulse buys should be reserved to only candies and snacks.

Set out the parameters of what you are looking for. Short or long sequence? Acronym or symbolic? Self-referential or general? Once you’ve asked yourself these questions, you will have a clearer picture of what you want and need.

2. Set a budget

Calculate how much you can afford or are willing to spend, and stick to it. Otherwise, a fleeting temptation may influence your purchasing decision and give you buyer’s remorse. You can go lower, but never higher. Remember, the plate is supposed to make you happy and contented - not create feelings of regret and resentment.

3. Decide on a plate format

There are four types of number plates available: the current DVLA format, prefix system, suffix system, and cherished.

Cherished number plates, better known today as dateless, are obviously the most attractive. Aside from the lack of age identifier, the sequences are shorter and some of the plates are aged well over a hundred years. However, they are also the most expensive.

4. Where to buy?

Do you intend to make the purchase on DVLA’s online auction website, or are you planning on heading to one of DVLA’s half a dozen annual public auctions? Do you prefer making purchases from specialist brokers? Have you done your homework with regards to the Department of Transportation fees, broker’s commission and applicable taxes?

Speaking of brokers, have you performed a research on them? Do their website or agency have a good public reputation? How experienced is the broker?

If it’s a private sale, how well do you know the buyer? Will he abscond after receiving payment? Does he own the registration, or merely an intermediary?

5. Documentation

Get your documents, such as vehicle registration, tax discs, personal identification, and proof of residency, in order. You will need them to complete your purchase.

This is your game plan. Prepare well, and good things will happen.