Here is my situation (and from what I gather this is a common worry, at least with this recruitment company): I went on a recruitment company's website and applied to a couple of their positions. I got a call from the recruiters for the positions and they sent me information on the companies and said they sent my profile to the companies. This was last week. Since then I have not heard from anyone at either of the companies, nor have I heard anything from the recruiters.
Now after having applied through this recruiting company, I have read some rather unsavory rumors about this recruitment company, most of them having to deal with them scraping online job postings and sending resumes unsolicited. So now I am a bit worried that my resume may have been sent to the companies unsolicited and that my reputation may be tarnished with them, but I am also worried that they may have sent my resume solicited and if I apply directly with the company it will portray me poorly or "look bad" in some other way (recruiters often warn me of this).
My question: how do I approach a company to see if they are contracted with a recruiting company? And if they are not, would it be possible to explain the situation in such a way as to not tarnish my chances at an interview when I apply directly with the company?