Personalised Number Plates – Are You Getting the Right Information?

If you want some information on the subject of personalised number plates, you could ask a number plate dealer or maybe the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). A poor choice would be to ask someone who knows very little on the topic. It is the same for any subject really; if you want the real facts make sure you speak to someone who absolutely knows what they are talking about.

An increasing number of people turn to the internet when searching for answers. There is so much information available online and with hand-held portable devices such as mobile phones and tablets, it is now easier than ever to access the world wide web. The challenge when researching a topic online is again to ensure that the author of the content is suitably qualified to provide you with accurate information.

To illustrate my point, I could write a blog post today claiming that the government has decided to allow British motorists to choose their own car registrations and they no longer have to follow the standard format of letters and numbers. Personally, I wouldn’t allow such a statement to appear on any pages of the website as it is pure fiction and completely made-up. Along with other website owners, I have a responsibility to ensure that the content published here is useful and factually correct.

Google search for personalised number plates

If you perform a search for the term ‘personalised number plates’ using the Google search engine, within the first few pages of results you will find articles published on websites belonging to Drivers Edge UK and Privilege.

Drivers Edge Logo

Drivers Edge UK is an online community for new & young drivers whilst Privilege provides online quotes for car and home insurance.

What you need to ask yourself is; would you expect both websites to be trustworthy sources of information on the subject of personalised number plates?

Unfortunately, both companies fall very short of my expectations on what constitutes good information on their chosen subject. Let’s first of all take a look at the article provided by Drivers Edge, titled: Personalised Number Plates Explained.

Quote: “Be warned that you should only apply for your personalised registration through companies who are recognised by the DVLA as a registered number plate supplier.”

Registered number plate suppliers are exactly that; businesses that sell or make number plates and are registered with the DVLA. Most registered suppliers are car dealerships and motor spares retailers, not to be confused with dealers of personalised registrations. This blog post explains how to buy a set of number plates. If you are looking to buy a personalised registration, the DVLA provides links to several cherished number dealers on this page.

Quote: “There are believed to be approximately 30 million recognised number plate suppliers in the UK…”

DVLA provides a list of registered number plate suppliers of which there are currently 38,576. There is a big difference between thirty-eight thousand and thirty million. Let’s be honest, it would be unusual to have 30 million suppliers of any product amongst a population of 60 million people.

Quote: “…purchasing the right to the registration will usually cost you from £255, and, you will also have to pay a £80 assignment fee.”

Entry-level personalised registrations can be purchased direct from the DVLA for £250 which includes the £80 fee.

I wish I could say the article improves after the first four paragraphs but unfortunately it is not the case. Anyone visiting the Drivers Edge website and reading the article on personalised plates is not going to increase their understanding of the product. If anything they are likely to end up being confused having read a poorly researched article.

Privilege Logo

Let’s move on to the article provided by Privilege, simply titled: Personalised Number Plates. This article is presented further down the same results page from Google, even though the information contained within it is much more accurate. There is still room for improvement however as these quotes demonstrate.

Quote: “…DVLA also has a telesales service”

The DVLA closed its telesales service in October 2010. The only way to buy a registration direct from DVLA is via its e-commerce website.

Quote: “…when you buy a personalised plate, you need to contact the DVLA to get a Certificate of Entitlement, also known as a V750.”

This statement requires clarification. If you purchase your registration direct from the DVLA you will automatically receive a V750 Certificate of Entitlement by post. If you buy from a dealer or from an individual you may receive a V778 Retention Document. In a private sale it is the seller or vendor who is responsible for providing you with the documentation, not the DVLA. This article explains the difference between a V750 and a V778.

Quote: “The Certificate of Entitlement will allow a registered number plate supplier to physically make up the plate for you…”

Again just to clarify, whilst you can go to a number plate supplier to get the plates made, you have to apply via a DVLA Local Office to assign a registration to your vehicle. It is not just a case of buying a set of plates and attaching them to your car.

In fairness to both Drivers Edge and Privilege, the subject of personalised number plates is not an easy one to explain, especially in the form of a single-page article. There are lots of different scenarios to consider such as; how to assign, transfer or retain a personalised registration, understanding the associated DVLA application forms and of course knowing which documents need to be submitted when carrying out any of the above tasks.


One of the best sources of accurate, online information covering the many aspects of personalised number plates is the recently launched GOV.UK website. You can access the personalised vehicle registration numbers section here. If you can’t find the answer you are looking for, there are several ways to contact DVLA.

If you are going to search for answers online, make sure the website you visit is a trusted source of information. Answers to some of the most frequently asked personalised number plate questions can be found here.