I have spoken with Garmin on several occasions and have had no problems. The 2009 map issue can be fixed by asking them to supply you with the eight character code, usually sent by e-mail. Start your download and when prompted enter the code and follow the rest of the instructions. I have done this to three Nuvi 760's in the last couple of days and have not had a hickup yet.
If I have the 2007 map on my garmin, can I upgrade straight to 2009?
vinsons4 is correct. The 2009 map update is a complete map file and does not require 2008 maps to be installed, you can go from any version up to the 2009 maps as long as you get the right version for your GPS unit. There is a difference depending on the age of your unit.
Darren, It sounds like you were ripped off by the retailer. What you probably have is a returned or demo (used) unit and instead of returning it to Garmin they have stuck it back on the shelf. You should be going back to the retailer and demand (nicely) a new unit. If that doesn't work you need to contact Consumer Affairs/Fair Trading.
For my experience, I purchased my Garmin 260 on Friday, had a ball with it on holiday for the weekend and updated my maps no problem this morning.