Frequently Asked Questions (click to expand)

Who are Plate-Trader.com?

We are the UK's leading number plate classifieds website.

What do you do?

Our site is an online marketplace that brings together buyers and sellers of number plates and allows them to contact each other directly without going through any dealers or middlemen. This means that there is no commission taken from/added to the sale price of any number plates, which saves both parties money!

How are you unique to the other number plate websites I've seen?

We believe that buying or selling a private plate should be as simple as buying or selling a car and that buyers & sellers should be able to deal with each other directly, without middlemen taking a percentage of the sale price. Unlike other number plate sites, all of the plates on our website are advertised directly by their owners and we don't re-advertise DVLA plates. With Plate Trader, buyers and sellers get in contact with each other and deal directly, cutting out the middlemen, such as dealers or auction websites, and their fees and commission. This means, as a seller, you get 100% of your plates value and don't have to give a percentage away in fees or commission, and as a buyer, you only pay the asking price the seller wants for their plate and not an over-inflated price that incorporates dealers commission!

I want to buy a number plate, where should I look?

We always recommend starting with the DVLA Personalised Registrations website, as this is the official website of the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency and they currently have over 31 million registrations available that have never previously been purchased or registered to any vehicle. However, if you are unable to find a suitable registration, chances are that it could already have been purchased. If this is the case, we recommend searching across as many number plate websites as possible, including dealers, eBay, and our website. If the person who owns the plate now was looking to sell it, the chances are they would have it listed on one of these websites. If it is for sale on our site, you can be confident that you won't find it cheaper anywhere else.

I've seen a plate I like, do I buy it from you or direct from the seller?

All plates advertised on our website are being advertised directly by the owners and sellers of the plates and you will be buying directly from them.

I want to sell my number plate, how do I go about it?

There are a few options, you can go through a number plate dealer, who will advertise the plate for sale on a commission basis, or sell it privately, either using an auction site like eBay, or a number plate classifieds website like Plate-Trader.

Should I sell my number plate privately?

We all know that when we sell a car privately, we get a better price for it, and selling a number plate is no different. When you sell privately, you cut out the middlemen (i.e. the dealers or auction websites), so you get your plates true value, and are not giving a percentage of the plates selling price away in commission or fees.

Number plate dealers are just like car dealers, they want their cut of the deal at your expense! What many of them do is offer you a "free instant valuation" on their website (which is often actually just a figure generated by a computer program) and they will email this to you instantly. The email is usually along the lines of... "Dear Mr Seller, A123 ABC is £600 to you, no deductions." They will then unless you specifically ask to opt out, advertise your plate for sale on their website at a much higher price, e.g. £1,000, and when they find a buyer, they'll pocket the £400 difference!!

Selling privately is obviously the way to make sure you get the full value of your number plate, but where do you advertise it and how do you make sure that it is getting seen by the right people? Well, you could try a card in your local supermarket? A local paper? A car forum? But are these places really going to find someone who is looking for the plate that you are selling? Probably not!

You could list it on eBay, but with listing fees, relisting fees and a 10% Final Value Fee this can end up costing nearly as much as going through a number plate dealer! Their search facility is quite limited which makes it hard for buyers to find your plate, and in our experience buyers tend to look on number plate websites for number plates, not eBay.

Our aim is to provide you with an alternative to number plate dealers or auction websites that demand a percentage of the money from the sale of your registration plate. We allow you to sell your registration plate privately, with no hidden charges or commission, allowing you to keep 100% of your plates selling price.

Place an advert with us and we will continue to advertise your plate until it's sold (no need to keep relisting). When it does sell, there's no commission taken. Our keyword search facility also lets you select your own keywords that you want your plate to show up in searches for, so you can make sure that your advert gets seen by people who are typing relevant keywords into our search box e.g. James for J44 MES.

Why shouldn't I sell my plate through a number plate dealer?

Although number plate dealers will advertise your number plate for free, which seems great in the short term (a bit like no win, no fee solicitors), if you're serious about selling your plate then in the long term then it might not be so great. Dealers make their money by taking commission from the sales of number plates. This commission is typically around 30%, so selling with them often means that you actually receive 30% less than the buyer is paying for your plate!

Why shouldn't I sell my plate on eBay?

We have a whole page dedicated to eBay fees but in a nutshell, you pay a small initial listing fee to advertise your plate on eBay, whether it sells or not, if it doesn't sell, you have to pay again to relist it. The listing fees are small but considering most adverts only run for around a week at a time, they can soon add up. Then, when your plate eventually does sell, eBay will also charge you roughly another 10% of the final selling price as a 'Final Value Fee', leaving you even more out of pocket!

Where should I sell my number plate then?

Here! At Plate-Trader.com as we are the cheapest and most cost-effective place on the web to sell your private number plate. Once your plate is listed with us, there's no re-listing and no commission. We will advertise your plate UNTIL it sells and you keep 100% of the sale price. We have a choice of advert options to suit everyone and every budget. Many of our adverts also reach the top of Google, so as well as being seen by the thousands of people that visit us every month, they're also seen by millions of searchers too!

So how do I sell my number plate through Plate Trader?

It's easy, once you've created an account, you can advertise your plate on our website in under 60 seconds, choosing as many keywords as you want to help buyers find it. As soon as you have completed your listing it will be featured on our website and visible immediately. As soon as someone visits our site who is interested in your plate, they will contact you directly via email or telephone.

Are there any risks to selling with you?

Absolutely not. Our mission is to change the way people buy and sell number plates forever, so our main goal is to help you sell your plate. If we do that, we know that you'll tell your friends about us and help us to grow even further.

As you'll see from our testimonials, we're also a really friendly bunch and we absolutely pride ourselves on our customers' satisfaction, so you can be assured that we'll look after you.

Finally, we don't tie you into any contracts, so if you're not happy with our service, you can cancel or remove your advert at any time.

Why is there a monthly/annual fee to advertise with you?

There is a small monthly/annual fee for all of our adverts because we believe that this is the fairest way to charge for our service.

Every single month we invest literally thousands of pounds into advertising and promotion across social networks, search engines and even in the national press (coming soon). Chances are you've probably seen one of our ads somewhere, or perhaps you even found us through an ad. 

By advertising your plate with us and paying a small monthly/annual fee, you are effectively 'buying in' to this promotion for your plate on a pay-as-you-go basis at a fraction of what it would cost you to do it yourself.

The other benefit of this type of pricing is that it keeps our site up to date. When we initially created our website, we started by offering advertisements for a one-time fee, however, many advertisers then forgot to let us know when their plate was sold and as a result we ended up with a site full of plates that were no longer available. Pay-as-you-go pricing allows us to ensure we are only advertising registration plates that are actually available.

You are always in full control of your advertisement and the costs. As soon as your plate sells, simply let us know and the advertising fees stop immediately. If for any reason you're not happy with our service and want to cancel or remove your advert, again, just let us know and the fees stop immediately.

Can I really cancel at any time?

Yes, you can cancel/remove your advert at any time. Simply log in to your account and click the 'Remove' link next to your advert to remove it from our website and cancel any further payments to us.

Do you offer discounts for multiple plates?

Yes we do. If you have 3 or more plates to sell then please take a look at our dealer plans.

Do you offer a free trial?

Yes, most of our adverts come with a free trial allowing you to create an advert and see how our site works for a limited time without paying anything.

The only time we do not offer a trial is if your account or registration plate has already had a free trial before. In this case, any mentions of a trial will be removed and your subscription will begin as soon as you create an advert. This process is in place to prevent a small number of people from abusing our system by advertising a plate with us, removing the advert before the trial ends, then advertising again with another trial, removing it again, advertising again and so on.

Can I space my registration plate however I want on my advert?

Unfortunately not. We display all registration plates with their correct and legal spacing on our site as we comply with DVLA guidelines and do not wish to mislead potential buyers looking for a plate. Any adverts placed with incorrect or illegal spacing will be amended by our team.

If you feel that your plate really should be spaced differently, then please feel free to upload an image along with your advert showing this, however, please do be aware that this is not road legal and you should make sure that buyers are aware of this before they purchase your plate.

How many plates can I list under each plan?

Each plan covers the cost of advertising one number plate. If you have multiple plates to sell and would like to discuss setting up a custom plan then please contact us.

How long will it take to sell my plate?

This is a question we get asked a lot, and it's a difficult one to answer as some plates can be snapped up very quickly, where others can take many months to even receive an enquiry. This is because firstly, number plates are luxury items that not everyone wants or can afford, but more importantly because unlike cars, most number plates only appeal to a small number of people to whom they have a meaning (e.g. the number plate 1 JDS could be hugely appealing to John David Smith, but would probably mean nothing to you or me).

This is why advertising on websites like eBay, for example, can be so frustrating, as you have to keep relisting your advert and hoping that someone that your plate means something to, will be searching on eBay for a number plate within the short window that your auction is running for. We eliminate that frustration and allow you to continue advertising until your plate sells.

As a general rule, the plates that sell the quickest are:

• Highly sought after & popular words, names, surnames or initials e.g. S1 NGH
• Dateless number plates e.g KM 1
• Plates with smaller numbers and fewer digits e.g F1 ABC
• Plates that don't need any modifications e.g GE07 RGE

If your plate doesn't fall into one of these categories, don't despair. You may still be able to sell it quickly if you price it sensibly, and with our advertising costs starting at just £29.95 for a whole year, there's no need to worry about ongoing costs of advertising.

How do I remove my advert once my plate is sold?

You can cancel/remove your advert at any time. Simply log in to your account and click the 'Remove' link next to your advert to remove it from our website and cancel any further payments to us.

How much is my number plate worth?

Like anything else, a number plate is worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it. Generally speaking, the less you have to think about what a number plate reads, or the shorter the plate, the better, although this is not always strictly true. There are many considerations when putting a monetary value on a particular plate, such as its age, its rarity or exclusivity and what it represents.

Number plates are a very specialised product, and valuing them can be difficult, that's why we offer a comprehensive Number Plate Valuations service. For just £9.99 you can have your plate independently valued by people with years of experience in the number plate market, and have a certificate to prove the plates value! Alternatively, all Premium Adverts placed on our site include a FREE valuation!

What happens when I find a buyer and we agree a price, how do we complete the sale?

Selling a number plate is no more difficult than selling a car, but many people are unsure of the process and what forms need to be completed etc. For this reason we've outlined the process in a few easy steps below.

The first step is to arrange the payment for the registration. For the buyers peace of mind you may want to send them a photograph of your V5, Retention Document or Certificate of Entitlement to prove that you own the plate, but make sure you conceal the certificate number/reference number as it's possible for someone to instantly transfer your private plate to their car using these numbers. For the actual payment, we recommend using a secure service such as Paypal which provides peace of mind and protection to both parties.

With the payment completed, you now need to transfer the registration. If it's currently on a vehicle then you should take it off and put it on a retention certificate. You can do this using the DVLA's new online service here or if you're old fashioned you can complete a V317 application form (available here). It costs £80 to do but this includes the Assignment Fee, meaning that the buyer doesn't have to pay any more fees to put the plate onto their vehicle.

Once the number plate is off the vehicle and 'on retention' you can transfer it to the buyer. The easiest way to do this is to give the buyer the Certificate Number, and direct them to the DVLA website here. This will allow them to assign the registration to their vehicle instantly online and in doing so, will transfer rights/ownership of the registration to them. Alternatively, if they'd prefer the postal method, then you just need to sign & date in Sections 1 & 6 or your Retention Document and post it to the buyer using a trackable postal service. This also allows them to assign the registration to their vehicle and transfers rights/ownership of the registration to them.

What is a private / personalised / cherished number plate?

A private, personalised or cherished number plate is unique car registration plate, which has been chosen and usually purchased by the owner. Every vehicle licenced to travel on the road in the UK is allocated with a registration mark, and these are issued randomly at the time of a vehicle's registration. However, some drivers prefer to use their number plate to exercise their freedom of choice, and purchase 'personalised' number plates stand out from the crowd. These often represent their name, initials, hobbies/interests or even occupations. There are a wide range of number plates available to suit all budgets and there are many factors which can influence the price or value of a number plate.

Are there restrictions on what type of number plate I can put on my car?

Any private number plate you choose to buy, needs to have been issued before (or in the same year as) your car was registered. A number plate cannot make a car look newer than its original registration date. For example, if a car you own, has a registration date of 1999 (e.g T123 ABC) you cannot assign any plate which is more recent than the original 1999 (T) registration as this would make the car appear newer than it actually is. You can only make your car look older, or the same age.

Why are number plate formats so rigid?

Unfortunately, contrary to popular belief, you can't just choose your word/name, and substitute letters for numbers to make up a number plate. All number plates in the UK have to be in certain formats, and there are commonly 4 in use at the moment. Current/New style (e.g AA09 AAA), Prefix (e.g A123 AAA), Suffix (e.g AAA 321A) and Dateless or Irish plates which can take various formats.

Can I contact you?

Yes, our Contact Us page provides full details of how you can contact us. However, we cannot deal with number plate sales through our email address, as we do not own the plates advertised here and we do not buy plates for stock.

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