Personalised number plates have become a growth industry, with thousands of motorists now displaying registrations which perhaps represent their initials or advertise their business or profession. Others choose a number which bears an amusing message or simply to disguise the true age of their vehicle.
But to anyone who is not familiar with the system, buying, selling or valuing personalised registrations on the secondary market can contain a number of pitfalls and difficulties.
The Cherished Numbers Dealers Association (CNDA) was established in 1971 to represent reputable and responsible dealers of personalised and attractive registration numbers and to protect the interests of their customers. CNDA is today affiliated to the Retail Motor Industry Federation whose various federated associations represent almost every sector of the retail motor industry.
Members of the CNDA adhere to a strict Code of Practice, and each member is regularly monitored by the Association to ensure that, for instance, members do not advertise registrations that they cannot be reasonably certain of supplying and that transfers are completed within an acceptable time limit. CNDA member dealers have a proven reputation and, in the unlikely event of a problem or dispute, help is close at hand from the CNDA.
The prospect of entrusting a relative stranger with cash and valuable documents before the Driver and Vehicle licensing Agency (DVLA) have authorised your chosen registration to be displayed on your vehicle can be daunting.
Although you can arrange the transfer of a registration number yourself by direct application to the DVLA, the process of finding a suitable registration and then ensuring that all legal and Department of Transport requirements are complied with can make the whole business complex and time consuming.
Opting for a dealer with CNDA membership assures you of their proven experience and efficiency in handling the formalities for you.
If you decide to sell your registration you will not only need to find a buyer, but also be certain that your number qualifies for transfer and that both donor and recipient vehicles are suitable and in sufficiently good order to enable them to participate in the transfer.
With all this to consider it may be simpler to let an expert do the work for you.
It is difficult to determine the value of cherished numberplates because there is no definitive source of reference to guide you. Furthermore, the variety of different number plate formats - suffix, prefix, Irish number plates etc - makes it difference to apply simple, hard-and-fast valuation principles. The realisable value of a number is likely to go down as well as up, depending on the current economic climate and public demand for similar registrations.
In recognition of these problems, CNDA offers a fully independent , certified valuation service which is widely used by the insurance industry, the legal profession and even the Police, as well as by owners, or prospective owners, of cherished numbers. CNDA valuations are fully independent because we do not rely on the opinion of just one dealer: we consult several of our members before an assessment is prepared.
Registration number transfer and assignment is regulated and approved by the DVLA, who hold records of every vehicle registered in the United Kingdom. CNDA meet regularly with the DVLA to examine the current transfer system, from the perspective of both the industry and the general public, and to identify areas where the system could reasonably be simplified.
In return, the DVLA are supportive of the CNDA's efforts to introduce discipline and high standards into the industry by encouraging reputable dealers to join an Association, with which the public can identify as offering increased security, reliability and performance.
For more information about the CNDA, its members and the valuation service, please do not hesitate to write to:
Cherished Number Dealers Association
201 Great Portland Street
London W1N 6AB
or call the CNDA helpline on 01788 576465.