That is normal. Most recruiters will not put someone in contact with the school or even another person working at the school for fear of circumventing. These companies make their money off of placing you. While they may not take money off your salary, they often do get some money either from the school for placing you or from the initial start up. I know journey east makes money from doing some visa work and buying your airline ticket.
As for Shanghai, the big cities are often in higher demand. One can easily
find a job in China, but it will be much more difficult without teaching experience (although not impossible). Many teachers will teach for a year or two in a small-medium sized city and then go to a larger one after getting experience.
Personally I recommend finding a smaller city near shanghai (or beijing) if that's where you want to go and just travelling there easily whenever you want. You can still have much of the city life this way, but on your terms... thus you won't have to deal with the hassles of living and working in a city, but can spend your weekends there if you choose.
Most people will advise you to avoid recruiters all together. Think about it... how do they have a job? You know someone is paying someone, somewhere... that is either your money you are spending or money a company could be spending on you and not the recruiter. There are plenty of websites where you can post a resume or contact employers directly. Always ask to contact the employer.
If you do choose to go through a recruiter... don't use journeyeast. I originally came to China through them and heard the word "duedilligence" thrown out a lot and phrases like, "we can be as little or as much of your experience as you like", and was even told that Keith would be coming to check on the apartments most likely at some point in the year.
All of that is crap.
If you would like more information on teaching, I can direct you to some schools and maybe help you get in touch with some as well, but either way, I strongly encourage one to think twice before doing business with Keith Curran.