Our advice to customers
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Unfortunately, some companies are not as honest or transparent as we strive to be. Extensive market research has uncovered some nasty surprises which honest clients have fallen victim to whilst buying or selling private plates.
Supply problems with deliberately slow refunds of your money
Some companies will happily take your money before checking to see if a private plate is available. This leads to disappointment and when refunds are offered it can take quite a long while for your money to be returned, meaning you may be unable to purchase an alternative from elsewhere in the meantime. Some agents basically lock you into their slow refund procedure and prevent you from buying elsewhere, hoping you will give-in and buy something else from them instead.
Our promise: At Plates 4 Less we always check to make sure a pre-owned registration mark is available before we take any payment and we request proof from the seller, to avoid any disappointment. If we have to make a refund because a seller has let us down then that refund is made immediately. Our list of available registrations is updated several times throughout each and every day to avoid any disappointment and ensure the most accurate information possible is available to our customers.
Suitability problems preventing transfer and use of your new registration
Many private plates include an ‘age identifier’ and there are strict government transfer rules regarding their suitability for certain vehicles, i.e. you cannot make a vehicle look younger than it is by transferring a more recent registration mark to it. You also cannot put a private plate on a tractor or a Q plated kit car, for example.
Some companies are not interested in telling you about these rules. They are only interested in selling you whatever you ask for, whatever the consequences - there is no legal obligation for them to tell you, so they simply don’t bother!
Our promise: At Plates 4 Less we have many safeguards in place to ensure the registration you choose is right for you. Our website includes a special ‘age-checking tool’ to help you see which registrations are suitable and when you have selected a registration you like, our online pages immediately inform you which vehicles are allowed to carry the mark. Our sales team will also always advise you of these rules should you be placing an order by telephone, as we only want our customers to be fully informed and confident that they have made the right choice.
Confusing Prices, Is the price you see the price that you pay?
A personalised UK registration mark can only be purchased by paying for the following 3 components at the time of purchase:-
- The cost of the ‘Rights to display’ the private registration mark. (Usually the most expensive part of the purchase.)
- The government transfer fee (also known as ‘assignment fee’ and presently £80).
- Value added tax. (VAT)
Our promise: We will always provide a full breakdown of costs and as soon as you have made a search we give you the choice to see the results either with the starting prices (as per our competitors) or the prices including all compulsory government fees, so you can save time and stay within your budget.
Some agents take advantage of the buyers’ lack of knowledge or understanding of the Government’s processes and the law, to make more money. They use a variety of ruses or tactics such as:
A. Very low starting prices hiding compulsory extras and hidden delivery charges
Some companies force you to buy add–ons such as a pair of plastic (acrylic) number plates when all you want is the rights to a private plate. This increases the very low starting price and you won’t find this out until you reach the checkout, where you will also find out about their additional delivery charges!
Our promise: At Plates 4 Less our acrylic number plates are an optional extra (unless you choose to pay by finance, when they are included so that you reach our finance threshold amount). We won’t charge extra for delivery unless you specifically ask us to use the Royal Mail Special Delivery service.
B. Unnecessary fees, before and after you buy
1. Non-refundable “Finance application or administration fees”
Some companies will offer finance to help you afford a private plate but will charge you a fee simply for applying. In most cases this fee is non-refundable if your application is turned down and can cost you up to a whopping £60, for nothing!
Our promise: We do not charge for finance applications at Plates 4 Less, regardless of the result. These fees are completely unnecessary and a nice little earner for the firms who do charge them as everyone pays them and no one gets them back!
2. Replacement fees for Government certificates
Some dealers may charge you to replace a lost certificate or to order a new one that reflects a change of nominee name. Fees are typically around £25 a time.
Our promise: If you lose your Government certificate we can normally order you a replacement at no cost. Similarly, we will change a named ‘nominee’ on such a certificate for no charge.
3. Costly after sales support
Some firms offer little or no after-sales support, which can often lead to confusion when it comes to transferring your new private plate to a vehicle. Some even use premium rate telephone lines to charge you for support.
Our promise: It is important to be able to discuss the transfer process with an expert to ensure an accurate and legal transfer, especially as errors can be costly and time consuming. At Plates 4 Less we are always happy to help our customers and our completely free of charge after-sales support is available Monday to Friday, 08.30-18.00, with contact request options available 24/7. We also have a comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions section on our website.
C. False advertising by deliberate misrepresentation of a number plate
You will often see tempting pictures showing number plates with incorrect spacing, illegal typeface, or screw caps in certain positions to make the registration mark spell a word or name and thus seem more attractive. The law says you must always display legally correct number plates on your vehicle if it is used on the public highway and failure to do so means you risk a £1000 fine and confiscation of your cherished registration mark.
Our promise: The images we use to illustrate registration marks for sale will always display legally spaced and legally represented registration marks appropriate for use on the United Kingdom highways. Certain browsers may sometimes alter the appearance of our images but we will never deliberately make registration marks more attractive to buyers by miss-spacing or any other misrepresentation.
D. Giving you less money and control when you sell your registration
Be wary of companies who give you a low valuation and don’t disclose how much they add to that figure for themselves. Obviously vat and transfer fees must be accounted for, but be careful of those who make a low valuation only to then advertise your private plate for a much higher asking price. Bear in mind that registrations with higher asking prices usually take longer to sell. Be sure to find out how much a company will add to your asking price in profit or commission so you can ensure the total price is competitive and you get as much from your sale as possible.
Our promise: At Plates 4 Less you control your asking price and you can always see the final price of your private plate as advertised on our site (with vat and transfer fees) before you publish it for sale with us. We don’t take any commission from your agreed selling figure. The buyer pays our sales administration fees, which we keep as low as possible to encourage sales. We won’t bother you with unreasonable offers from buyers and we always ensure the buyer is serious about making a purchase before we contact you.