The regulations pertaining to selling personalised number plates

Like conventional number plates, the sales and purchases of personalised number plates must be done according to the Vehicles (Crime) Act 2001. This is done to prevent criminals from acquiring false number plates to commit crime or mask stolen vehicles. However, there is a huge regulatory requirement difference between businesses selling number plates and individuals.



Requirements for businesses to sell personalised number plates


DVLA established the Registered Number Plate Suppliers (RNPS) list in 1 January 2003 as a means to tightly regulate the market. If your business wish to sell personalised number plates, please ensure that you have applied and are included on the list. Failure to do so could lead to heavy fines and even jail time. If you are uncertain on how to submit an application, please get in touch with DVLA immediately.


Being listed on DVLA’s RNPS list requires sellers to maintain the following documents:


• Complete record keeping of all number plates sold. Full information about all buyers, including identification, contact details and payment method, must be kept for at least three years.


• Identity verification is a must. Sellers must verify the identity of customers using either a photo IS, credit card, bank statement, utility bills, etc.


Buyers must be able to demonstrate their right to purchase the plate and display it. This can be easily verified by reviewing the V5c logbook, or the V778 or V750 certificates. Car manufacturers or distributors may also be verified through DVLA’s letter of authorisation.


Requirements for individuals selling private number plates


Private sales of personalised number plates are not covered by DVLA’s RNPS. However, number plate owners must ensure that the plates are eligible to be sold. A “Not transferable” remark will be stamped on the logbook if a number plate cannot be sold. This usually, but not always, involves cherished plates.


If the registration mark is unassigned, the seller must be able to provide a valid V750 or V778 retention certificates.


The assigned vehicle must also conform to tax and MOT rule, although some exemptions may apply in exceptional cases. Older vehicles may be subjected to MOT/HGV testing.


Finally, the vehicle must still be physically available. You cannot sell number plates which are assigned to vehicles which have been scrapped, destroyed or stolen. In such instances, the registration mark is voided and ownership is returned to DVLA – even if you continue to hold the logbook.


Failure to adhere to any of the above, and any attempt to mislead DVLA, may lead to fines and jail time.


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Bailey Carpenter