The Two Avis Keys

In the last few years, I have noticed that Avis always delivers two keys with their rental cars.

The keys are identical. They are attached to a tag and a remote by a fixed band that does not open. There is no way to separate the keys. If there are two drivers, they can’t each have one. Rental car keys are bulky enough, with the big tag and the remote. Two keys are so bulky, they don’t fit comfortably into pants pockets. They always get in the way.

I wonder what Avis is trying to do?

Of course, they want to keep the keys together, so when the car is eventually sold, they have both keys there. In the meantime they bother every one of their primary customers like me, car renters, and they hassle us with the keys.

In the event a renter should lose the key, he would lose both, of course; nothing saved there.

Wouldn’t it be much better to put the second key in a key warehouse indexed by the car’s VIN number? When the car is eventually sold, it can be mailed to the location of the car, and it’ll be a brand-new fresh key. If the first key is ever lost, the one in the warehouse would be a nice backup.

Other rental car companies don’t do this – as far as I can tell. It’s an Avis thing. And I don’t get it.

6 thoughts on “The Two Avis Keys

  1. Eric Petrie

    Maybe it’s an advertising thing: Avis is number two, it tries harder. So you the customer must have two keys, and try harder too, to lose one of them.

  2. Cranky Person

    It is an idiotic customer-hostile practice. The nominal idea is to keep all of the keys/remotes together for when the car is resold out of the rental fleet.

    The actual effect is to make certain that the customer 1) has no flexibility in key use (e.g. to put into a runner’s or water sports key pack), 2) is inconvenienced by a bulky stack of keys, and 3) is on the hook for big bucks if they lose a key (because two keys and two remotes must be replaced).

    Who even has pockets large enough to hold these ridiculous piles of hardware?

    1. Cranky Person is speaking it more clearly than I could. The whole thing is completely annoying – all to keep the keys together for resell? Is Avis a resell company, or is it a car rental company? Who is their customer? The renter or the buyer?

  3. Mark

    I like Avis and got a good deal on a rental car to go to a conference with my wife. The car was upgraded to a larger model at no expense because they rented the car we reserved. That was OK. When returning the auto both keys had been separated from the thin steel wire connecting them. The salesperson said we could not do that. I asked the person to show me in the rental agreement where it said that. No answer. I pointed out it was easy to cut the wire. I believe the connecting wire came from the Ford factory and was not put on the pair of keys by Avis. I emailed Avis customer service about this and via several emails got an answer that basically said ” the keys are expensive we don’t want you to lose it.” That answer didn’t make much sense. Lose both or lock both in the car and you’re screwed. Separate the keys and there is a chance the other key could unlock the car or at least continue the trip if a key was lost. I pointed out to the person at Avis that they wanted to know how many drivers would be using the car and I replied “…two.” I thought to myself “two drivers, two keys” the math was simple so I cut the wire connector and gave my wife one key and I kept one key. The automobile was a new Mustang and was more complex than the car I own. It did not have an operator’s manual that I could read, nor did it come with floor mats. I brought my own floor mats to keep the inside of the car clean to keep from having a bill. Avis said the operator’s manual was in the trunk. It was not. Next time I may leave the dashboard set to bright red, in French, in kilometers, and the suspension set to “Sport”. Let the next guy contact them about changing that.
    Avis wasn’t exactly hostile, but didn’t give me a real answer. If the “two keys stay together…” is a policy it should be in writing and not made up on the spot.

    1. Clipping both keys together simply results in loss of both of them at once. Nobody loses keys on purpose. So it’s much safer to put one into a suitcase and the other in the pocket. But really, they should only give you one key. What a silly rule.

      I bought a set of 1.5″ rings and I bring a little side cutter when I go on a long trip. It drives me crazy to have a whole bundle of two big bulky keys, and a tag, that fits into no pocket, to contend with all trip long.

      If they ever told me that they can’t be separated I’d blow up. Yes, show me where it says that?

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