You should be able to get online to Tom Tim Home, register your product and get at least one update. You are good for a year from date of purchase. Just say you purchased it now. After that updates cost money.
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If/when you've just purchased a (brand) new TomTom GPS, you can register it (at the TomTom.com website) and download the latest map (for your device) .... free ... as part of the latest map guarantee. Whenever you connect your GPS to the TomTom website (via TomTom HOME), you'll get (free) updates to your current map version - ... but they are NOT new versions of the maps. To get new versions of your (current) map, you'll need to purchase the update (e.g. online, on the TomTom website). Upon paying for it, you will get the activation codes, etc. for you to download, validate and install the maps.
If your GPS has lifetime maps, (after you have registered), you'll be able to connect (via TomTom HOME) to get the latest map release, without requiring any code/password.
Assuming you bought your TomTom BRAND NEW in a TomTom box, I don't think it will be free, depending on the specific offer you got inside your GPS box. In most cases, it's just a discount. TomTom maps are around $100 for 4 quaterly updates (4 updates in one year). My TomTom came with a $15 discount, no free maps. Your offer may be different.
You need to contact either the place you bought the device or TomTom... probably the place you bought the device because they gave you a defective one. It should already have a map on it and it should ask you to "update" it when you login to TomTom home.
You will only get a free update on a new device if you install tomtom home on your computer and login withing the first 2-3 months of purchasing your device. Also, if you purchased a device that is "refurbished" or "recertified" then you do not get this free update and your map can be up to about a year and a half old. In this case, you would have to purchase a map update. To update you will have to install TomTom Home on your computer (download from TomTom.com) and login. You can typically purchase one update for about 45 USD or purchase a year of updates for just a little more (like 59.99 USD). A "year of updates" gives you an updated map each quarter for one year. I don't know that I would have bought a TomTom for use outside of North America or the UK. Sorry.
I should pre-warn you that they are not very friendly. About 4 years ago I bought my mom a Navman ICN 620, after 6 months I tried to get updates and called and emailed them for about four months finally when they responded they just said they were not updating US maps for any of their previous products. Looks like they are more an international company that sells in limited quantity in the US through Radio Shack stores. I have gone back to their website about 5 times since then to see if any updates were ever added and they never did.
If its an older unit I would replace it Tomtom makes a nice unit and Magellan even has a few units with free traffic updates (depending on area)
I finally just replaced the unit for her this christmas bought her a Magellan roadmate 1470 for $150.
Just FYI most GPS manufacturers want you to pay YEARLY for their map updates and if you skip an update you may have to also pay to do a firmware update. I have a Tomtom go 720 which is 2 years old they wanted $49 for a firmware update and $99 for the map update.
If you have a receipt (TomTom won't help you without a receipt) try calling TomTom support and they may help you put another map on your TomTom. If this fails take it back and don't let fiance play with it again.