Drivers at risk of losing private plates if they don't act quickly

Published 18 September 2019

Owners of personalised plates are being warned they could be at risk of losing the rights to their registration if they don't take action soon.

While many people buy private plates to give their car a personalised touch, some treat them as an investment or simply want to hold onto them for the future without displaying them on a vehicle. In this case, it's possible to put the plate on retention - i.e. hold onto the rights to the plate without actually using it on a car.

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Currently, anyone who owns a plate without using it on a vehicle must renew the V750 certificate of entitlement or V778 retention document every 10 years. For those who bought a plate before 2015, it might need to be renewed more often - check the document for details.

If you let the certificate expire, it's currently possibly to pay a fee to renew it and retain your entitlement to the plate. But that's set to change, with the DVLA not accepting any applications to renew expired certificates from December.

If you got the V750 or V778 before 9 March 2015 and it's expired since May 2011, you can buy the right to use the private registration again until 18 December 2019. It costs £25 for each year the certificate has expired, with the DVLA charging the same as a full year for time periods less than this.

For example, if your certificate expired two years and one month ago, you'll have to pay £75 to cover three full years.

You can renew your personalised registration certificate by filling in the V750 or V778 and sending the fee to the address on the form. If you've lost it, you can send a letter to the DVLA detailing why you do not have the certificate, along with proof of your name and address.

After 18 December 2019, anyone who has let their private plate retention certificate expire will lose the plate - however the DVLA says it will not reissue the plates.

"DVLA only sells previously unissued registration marks and there are no plans to sell the rights to previously issued marks where the rights have been lost," said a spokesperson.

This means that, if a valuable plate is allowed to lapse, the DVLA is adamant it will not be reused by anyone. The original keeper will no longer be able to use it, nor will it ever be offered on the market again.


Miniman777    on 18 September 2019

Nice money earner for the DVLA!

IrishNeil    on 18 September 2019

Nice money earner for the DVLA!

Vanity plates generate millions whenever the DVLA lease their property to drivers who have the capacity to spend their own money as they choose.

It is a fantastic government agency that cost's nothing run, instead it generates huge underspends that pay for NHS and other overspend services.

Be glad we have it!

victor platt    on 23 September 2019

Yes drivers do have a right to spend their money on what they want including personalised numberplates but it all seems too much bother for what you get out of it . Who is really bothered if he is following Daz 2 or Bill 3 in his car ? I like to keep a low profile in life anyway and I also think that there are a lot more important things to think about in life . Those that put these numberplates up there as a priority must have very sad lives

Classical    on 23 September 2019

Victor P, I think it has quite a lot to do with the fact that so many cars look the same these days and the number is a way of making them stand out or a be bit different. Registrations that are names are quite fun like DOG, CAT or SAM or SUE but peoples' initials are pointless and only mean something to them eg DSK, NHY, HGT and so on.

Edited by Classical on 23/09/2019 at 20:49

999pez    on 23 September 2019

Seems a bit pointless telling people they can't use their lapsed number but that the DVLA aren't going to sell it either. I don't see who this benefits.

Phil Dell    on 23 September 2019

999pez. Agreed!

   on 23 September 2019

I all ways forget my plate number so it is nice to keep the same no.This goes back to when I was 17 first car stopped for going to slow 30 in a 30 speed limit asked ref no i didn’t know.

Tim Stafford    on 28 September 2019

It's probably seen as financially more viable than people who buy or lease new cars so they can have the latest registration. Trading cars in every two years over their greatest depreciation period, they lose thousands before the car leaves the forecourt.

Husbandofstinky    on 4 October 2019

All I can say from a personal point of view is from an investment perspective, for me, they have been amazing.

I have various, on cars, motorbikes and on retention. The idea was to make a few quid (and I did) but I got messed about on the last one going through the process so decided to knock it on the head.

Pay the right money (look at the history) at the DVLA auctions and you are quids in. Ball park I was making 30%+ even after fees. It can take a while though.

They are all dateless two letters two numbers

With the ones left, I reckon they are easily worth double if not treble the purchase price now after 10 years. No guarantees of course as only worth what someone is willing to pay. However, they are like houses and AB 53 and AB 54 so will be worth similar money, just like 53 and 54 Acacia Avenue.

I call them MIckey Mouse number plates but have done well from them. Absolutely zero overheads too bar £80 change of vehicle etc.

bikeman    on 17 March 2021

My fathers personal licence plate has expired. He has dementia and didn't renew. By I discovered the DVLA didn't want to know. It was an expensive vanity plate that he had intended to put on his classic Mercedes.

I would be willing to pay to resurrect it but as far as the DVLA are concerned once expired it is gone for good.

This change seems just b***** mindedness just to get rid of a small bit of admin. Typical public sector.

Edited by bikeman on 17/03/2021 at 09:56

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