In Connecticut, when you sign a buyer representation agreement with a real estate agent, typically you are asked to guarantee the agent a certain commission level if and when you buy a property during the representation period. This amount is negotiable.
With that said, when you purchase a property listed with another agency, or even the same agency, there is usually an offer of compensation to the buyer's agent to sell the property, paid by the seller. This number is variable, but in most cases this is between 2-3.5%. So, if the buyer agent receives compensation from the seller and that fulfills the terms of your buyer representation agreement, the buyer owes no commission.
If you should decide to purchase a "For Sale By Owner", short sale property or other distressed/unusual property, there may be no offer or guarantee of commission by the seller. In this instance, the buyer may be responsible to pay his/her agent's commission.
I have never seen a relocation company pay a buyer agent commission, but then again I have never run into a situation in which this commission wasn't paid from the seller side. Even in the case of a For Sale By Owner, it is usually possible to negotiate with the seller to pay the buyer agent commission. It is something that might be negotiable with the relo company, but something that would have to be discussed with the company and employer.
As far as agents that drop the ball... In every industry there are those who don't follow through. The important thing for you to do is interview agents, discuss your needs, wants and concerns and choose someone that you feel comfortable with and who listens to you. Along with the bad, there are some really great agents out there who do their job well and care about the people the help.
If I can be of any assistance, don't hesitate to ask.
HomeStyles Real Estate
Managing Broker, REALTOR, ABR, e-PRO