Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

General Questions

1. Who are Plate Trader and what do you do?

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

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!

2. How is Plate Trader different to other number plate websites?

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 dealer 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!

3. If Plate Trader don't take any commission, how do you make money?

We charge a small monthly/annual fee to advertise a number plate on our website. 

The monthly/annual fee helps us to cover the costs of running and marketing the website, getting it in front of the eyes and at the fingertips of millions of  potential buyers. 

This is our only fee, there are no other fees or commissions to pay when a sale is completed.

4. Do you have a telephone number I can call you on? Can you call me?

We don't offer telephone support. Our site is designed as a classifieds site where everything can be done online, which enables us to keep our overheads down and ultimately keep our advertising costs as low as possible. We are more than happy to help via email though and always get back to queries as quickly as possible.

5. Why do some adverts have badges on them, and what do they mean? Can sellers choose which badges display on adverts?

Our system applies badges to adverts automatically based on various criteria.

As an example, the adverts that are getting the most views, enquiries or saves might have a badge as a popular or very popular advert. A seller that responds to enquiries quickly can have a responsive or very responsive seller badge. Sellers or dealers that have sold through our site before can have badges showing they are a trusted seller to trusted dealer. Also, new adverts or recently updated adverts may have a newly listed or recently updated badge. 

As mentioned, these are automated, we do not apply them manually and they cannot be amended by our sellers.

6. Why do some adverts have + VAT on them? Do I need to add VAT on my advert?

We do have some VAT registered number plate traders and dealers that advertise with us, so if an advert displays VAT, then this likely means that it is being sold by a VAT registered business. 

You should only tick the '+ VAT' box when advertising if you are a VAT registered business.

Selling Questions

General Questions

1. Can you help me to sell my number plate?

Yes, we'd love to help you sell your number plate. 

We're a classifieds site/marketplace, allowing buyers and sellers to contact each other directly with no middleman and no commission. This means you are in full control of the sale and get to keep 100% of your plates selling price, rather than a percentage being taken as commission as it would be with a traditional number plate dealer.

When you advertise your plate with us, your advert will display an enquiry form which buyers will be able to complete, and these enquiries will be delivered to you directly. You'll receive an SMS and an email alert to inform you, and will have the option to respond and manage your enquiries within the Message Centre in your account.

When it comes to completing the sale, we are pleased to offer an escrow service, which provides peace of mind and protection to both parties. The buyer makes their payment into a secure account, the seller is then notified that the payment has been made and can transfer the registration, the buyer then confirms receipt and funds are released. In the unlikely event of any problems, our disputes team will protect you.

We offer a 7 day free trial on our adverts, so you can try us out at no cost and you could even sell it within the trial period, so it won't cost you a penny!

If this sounds good to you, take a look at our selling page to see the benefits of advertising with us :) 

2. Will you buy my number plate? Do you buy number plates into stock?

No, we don't buy plates for stock. We're a classifieds site/marketplace, not a number plate dealer. Our focus is on creating the best experience for both our buyers and sellers and changing the face of the number plate market, and we feel that holding stock and selling our own plates would distract us from this goal.

If you would like to sell your plate, why not consider advertising it on our site? We offer a 7 day free trial on our adverts, so you can try us out at no cost and you could even sell it within the trial period, so it won't cost you a penny!

3. Why is there a monthly/annual fee to advertise and sell 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 paid advertising across social networks and search engines, as well as on search engine optimisation (SEO). 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 'bulk-buying' into this promotion for your number 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, what we found was that many advertisers forgot to let us know when their plate was sold and as a result we ended up with a site advertising a lot 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.

4. Do you offer a free trial on adverts?

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. It is possible to receive enquiries and even sell your plate whilst within your trial period, and we've had numerous sellers who have done just this. 

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.

5. How do I know what price to put on my advert if it don't know what my number plate is worth?

If you're not sure what price to enter when listing your plate you can tick the box that says 'Accept Offers'.

This will allow you to proceed with advertising without needing to add a price today, and will instead display a price of 'Make An Offer'. 

We send a free valuation within 48 hours with all Premium Adverts, and you can edit your advert at any time, so once you have received your valuation you can then amend the price.  

Alternatively, if you'd prefer to receive a valuation before advertising, you can purchase one of our standalone Number Plate Valuations for just £9.99 (per plate) and our team with over a decade of experience in the number plate market, will provide a completely unbiased and impartial valuation within 48 hours.

If you have purchased a valuation from us, this will entitle you to a free 30 day trial on any of our adverts.

6. 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.

7. What are search keywords and how do they work?

We allow our sellers to add keywords to their adverts. These are just the keywords that you want your plate to appear in searches for. For example, if you're selling the plate J4 MES, you'll want it to show up when someone searches for James. Similarly, if you're selling P3 TER, you'll want people looking for a Peter number plate to find it.

Generally speaking, the more keywords sellers include, the better. For example, if you were selling the plate M666 UTD, then we'd suggest setting keywords such as BMW M6, Manchester United, MUFC, Devil, Satan etc., however, it's important not to enter general terms like name, cool, best, private plate etc. as these won't help adverts be found by people looking for them.

8. How many plates can I list in each plan & do you offer discounts for advertising multiple plates?

Each plan covers the cost of advertising one number plate, however, if you have multiple plates (3 or more) to sell then it may be worth taking a look at our dealer plans, which allow multiple adverts within one plan at a discounted rate. You don't need to be a large dealer to benefit from these, in fact we have numerous number plate collectors, traders and smaller dealers who advertise their plates via these plans.

9. How do I edit/change my asking price or anything else on my advert?

You can edit anything about your advert, at any time, by simply logging in to your account scrolling to 'My Adverts' and clicking the pencil icon next to your registration. The only thing you will be unable to edit, is the registration itself. If you have made an error with the registration, please contact us and we can amend this for you.

10. How do I cancel/remove my advert?

You can cancel your advert at any time by simply logging in to your account and heading to 'My Adverts', then clicking the cross icon next to your registration. You'll be given the option to remove your advert immediately, or to remove it at the end of the current billing period that you may have already paid for.

11. A buyer has contacted me and we have agreed a price, how do I complete the sale?

Payment

When selling a registration privately (i.e. directly to the buyer and not through a middleman), some people choose to complete the transaction in person to ensure all goes smoothly, however, this isn't always practical and often deals are done remotely.

For this reason, we are pleased to offer an escrow service, which, for a small fee, provides peace of mind and protection to both parties. The buyer makes their payment into a secure account, you as the seller are then notified that the payment has been made and you can transfer the registration, the registration is then transferred and the buyer confirms receipt, then the funds are released to you. In the unlikely event of any problems, our disputes team will protect you.

If you wish to proceed without using escrow, then the buyer will likely want to see proof of ownership before exchanging funds. For peace of mind, they may want to ask for a copy of the Logbook (V5C)Certificate of Entitlement (V750) or Retention Document (V778) or to prove that you own the rights to the registration, along with photo identification, before they send you any funds. 

When providing these documents, make sure you conceal the certificate number/reference numbers as it's possible for someone to instantly transfer your private plate to their car using these numbers. It’s worth noting that these number appear in multiple places on the documents, so make sure you conceal every instance of it (see this guide for details of where the numbers appear).

If the registration is currently on a vehicle and you sending a copy of a V5C, make sure you to conceal the VIN number as well, as it’s possible for scammers to apply for a new log book if they have this.

In terms of them making the actual payment, if proceeding without using our escrow service then we would suggest using another secure service such as PayPal which provides some protection to both parties. If using PayPal, they should send the payment under the category of 'Goods and Services' to ensure both parties are protected. 

Transferring ownership of the registration

With 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 onto a retention certificate. You can do this using the DVLA's online 'retain a number plate' service or if you prefer the old fashioned route, you can complete a V317 application form. 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 your buyer. The easiest way to do this is to give your buyer the Certificate Number, and direct them to the DVLA's online 'assign a number plate' service. 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.

Buying Questions

General Questions

1. I've found 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. You can get in contact with them through the enquiry form on their advert and once you have sent them a message you will see this and be able to manage the conversation in the Message Centre within your account.

2. Can I pay monthly for a plate or buy it on finance?

We're a classifieds site/marketplace so we don't actually own the plates on our website. As you are buying the number plate directly from the owner, it is unlikely they will offer finance or pay monthly options, unless of course you are buying from one of the number plate dealers/traders that advertise with us.

3. Do I need an account with you to contact the seller of a number plate, and if so, why?

Yes, in order to make an enquiry about a registration on our site you will need to create (or log in to) an account. This allows you to manage the conversations about any plates you enquire about within your account's Message Centre. It also prevents you from needing to enter your details each time you wish to make an enquiry about a different plate.

4. How do I to report a problem with an advert?

To report an advert, if you believe there is an issue such as a potential scam, simply click the 'Report this ad' button and select your reason for reporting it, providing as much detail as possible. All reports are taken seriously and will be looked into.

5. I've found a plate I like and agreed a price with the seller, how do I complete the purchase?

Payment

When purchasing a registration privately (i.e. directly from the seller and not through a middleman), some people choose to complete the transaction in person to ensure all goes smoothly, however, this isn't always practical and often deals are done remotely.

For this reason, we are pleased to offer an escrow service, which, for a small fee, provides peace of mind and protection to both parties. You make your payment into a secure account, the seller is then notified that the payment has been made and they can transfer the registration, the registration is then transferred and you confirm receipt, then the funds are released to the seller. In the unlikely event of any problems, our disputes team will protect you.

If you wish to proceed without using escrow, then we recommend asking the seller for proof of ownership before exchanging funds. For your peace of mind, you may want to ask for a copy of the Logbook (V5C)Certificate of Entitlement (V750) or Retention Document (V778) to prove that the they own the rights to the registration (clicking the names of the documents above show examples, however, please note that we advise sellers to conceal the certificate/reference numbers highlighted in the example documents so don't worry if these are hidden), along with photo identification, before you send them any funds. 

In terms of them making the actual payment, if proceeding without using our escrow service then we would suggest using another secure service such as PayPal which provides some protection to both parties. If using PayPal, you should send the payment under the category of 'Goods and Services' to ensure both parties are protected. 

Transferring ownership of the registration

With payment completed, you now need to transfer the registration. If it's currently on a vehicle then the seller should take it off and put it onto a retention certificate. They can do this using the DVLA's online 'retain a number plate' service or if they prefer the old fashioned route, they can complete a V317 application form. 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' the seller can transfer it to you. The easiest way to do this is for them to give you the Certificate Number, and for you to use the DVLA's online 'assign a number plate' service. This will allow you to assign the registration to their vehicle instantly online and in doing so, will transfer rights/ownership of the registration to you.

Alternatively, if you'd prefer the postal method, the seller just needs to sign & date in Sections 1 & 6 or the Retention Document and post it to you using a trackable postal service. This also allows you to assign the registration to your vehicle and transfers rights/ownership of the registration to you.

6. I am looking for a certain number plate, can you tell me if this becomes available?

Our site offers the option to save searches, and also to receive email alerts when registrations matching your search criteria are listed. To use this facility, simply search for a plate and hit the 'Save Search' or 'Notify Me' buttons.

Valuation Questions

General Questions

1. 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 the type of plate, the letters and numbers within the plate and how popular they are, or in some cases, what the plate reads or represents.

We know that valuing number plates can be difficult, and many people struggle, that's why we offer a comprehensive Number Plate Valuations service. You can purchase a standalone valuation for just £9.99 (per plate) and our team with over a decade of experience in the number plate market, will provide a completely unbiased and impartial valuation. Alternatively, if you are looking to sell the number plate, then it's worth mentioning that all Premium Adverts placed on our site include a free valuation. 

2. Why do you charge for valuations when other sites offer them for free?

Many number plate sites offering free valuations are dealers, and they do this to obtain your contact details. They keep a database of the owners of plates, and in many cases will advertise and attempt to sell your number plate on a commission basis. They have this written into their T&C’s so your number plate will be marketed for sale unless you explicitly opt out. 

In many cases, their valuations can be inaccurate as they don’t provide an actual value, but rather a figure that they will return to you on sale. This figure is how much they’ll aim to give you after accounting for their commission but isn’t really an accurate representation of how much your number plate is actually worth, or how much they'll sell it for.

Finally, some of them are computer generated, which means an algorithm just generates a figure based on how many characters in the plate etc. and cannot actually see what it might mean or look like. 

The reason we charge for valuations is because our valuations are completely impartial and take us time to carry out. We do not advertise your plate for sale or do anything with your contact details, and we carry out all valuations manually using over a decade of experience and research to give you a truly accurate figure as to what we believe your plate is worth. 

3. Where is my valuation? When will I receive it?

We complete all valuations manually, independently researching the number plate market to give you as accurate a value as possible, so they do take us some time to carry out.

Your PDF valuation certificate will be sent to you via email and will also be available for download from within your account within 48 hours of you requesting it (or placing a Premium advert).

4. Do you offer valuations for legal purposes i.e. divorce or probate?

Our valuations, whilst giving an accurate appraisal of a number plates current value, are not designed to be used by the legal or insurance industry.

If you need a valuation for this purpose, we recommend contacting the Cherished Number Dealers Association.

5. I've placed a Premium Advert and am trying to get a valuation, why is your website still asking me for payment?

If you have placed a Premium Advert we will automatically send you a valuation (usually within 48 hours of you placing the advert), there is no need to request one separately. 

6. Do I need to advertise my plate at the price you value it at?

Absolutely not. Our valuations are merely our opinion of what a number plate could sell for, taking into account many factors and using over a decade of experience in the number plate market. When you advertise a plate on our site, however, you are in total control of the advert and can set whatever asking price you like.

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