Yes - I have had a very learning experience with RENTAL CARS - I have been traveling for business and have rented about 50 cars in 2007 about 30 in 2008 and about 10 this year.
Now I have some property that I own free and clear and wanted to borrow money on it and had tried about 3 times in the past couple of years - the lady would always say it’s (my score) just a little low give it a few months and try again. Due to this I decided to look and see what the problem is (I know should have done it awhile back) anyway, my score was getting pounded by these rental car companies and most were Hard hits.
Now I went back and read all of the fine print on the agreements and it is on all of them near the end, that they will check your credit for cash, debit and credit! I always used a debit card - rarely a credit card - I rented cars from all companies no specific one favorite - and the ones that showed up on my reports the most were Avis and Dollar - but all showed up some where. I was furious over this and called all of the rental car agencies that showed up on my reports as hard hits - and each stated that it was "company policy" Most said it should show up as a soft hit and if it does not, for me to file a complain with the credit reporting agency and they would change it to a soft hit.
Now I went over my reports with a fine tooth comb - and made a new discovery!
Not only do they check your score when you leave with the car, but in a lot of cases it is checked again when the car is returned. So really your credit can be checked 2 times for one car rental - most of my rentals were for 2 and 3 days
So again I called Avis to show my colors - they said that they actually have no control over it - which it is done every time by their software automatically! Now one agency told me that - if I would apply 6 weeks in advance of the rental and fill out some forms in advance, and inform them that I was going to pay with a Debit card they would waive the credit check (bless their heart)
I'm not sure and have not looked into it yet!
But I think the solution might be to obtain a credit card or some type of rental card card, but I could get no company to comment on that and they advised me to read the printed matter. I would be interested in hearing others comment on this matter Thanks for letting me vent!