The other day me and a colleague faced some weird behavior on Maven's part when downloading dependencies.
What made it worse is that he was using a NetBeans 7.0.1 and I am still on the 6.9.1 so we tried to dig around what was causing this unexpected behavior.
It just happens that NetBeans 7.x has a different embedded version of Maven, the version 3 to be more precise, and what was seen as 'okay' for Maven to deal in the version 2 stopped being the case with the new version. Apparently for the better.
We then changed the IDE to point to a Maven 2 installation and voilá. Everything was working like a charm.
Check the screenshot below for more information: