I just had a 2nd bad experience with First American and a client of mine. Neither time these folks have been called out in a real estate contract that I've been involved in has my client been the one to designate them and from now on I will push the issue with the other party to change.
Not only has there been bad service but it's more of the lack of accountability that has ticked off me and my clients. The first really bad experience was in late spring of 2006 when a client was buying a new condo. The gal conducting our signing appointment kept using her new status as an employee to not go take off a $600+ fee that we knew needed to be removed from my client's settlement statement. At one point she asked me what I expected her to do so I told her, "get out of your chair and find the person that did work up our file and have them fix the problem!"
The most recent problem was with a client who was selling her condo through me. The escrow agent held back a lot of fees that were unnecessary resulting in time lost for me and my client in having to track down the errant checks. But, more egregious was the delay of her proceeds being transferred to her bank by a day because an employee lied about her ability to reach my client regarding a payoff statement issue with her bank. This client of mine is one of the most accessible people I've known so hearing the escrow agent telling me she couldn't reach her all day was a load of crap. I know better and my client said she'd been available by both phone and email - which I knew because I'd been talking to her all day.
The account sales rep has been notified so hopefully service will improve but I was also told that they just experienced a fairly substantial layoff because the real estate market is slowing locally. It might be slower than it was in the past 3 years but it is still pumping right along - my business continues to grow. I wonder how much of their problems came from this article I found in the paper just yesterday http://archives.seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/texis.cgi/web/vortex/display?slug=title18m&date=20061018 Not good news for First American to be on the top of the list of offenders.