Did dealer rip off the cash deposit?

Dear Terry,
I traded in my 2003 Ford Taurus last year, with a trade-in value of $6,500 for a 2005 Ford Crown Victoria. I had to pay $1,100 in down payment to seal the deal.

Now, a year later, I just got served a summons for court because this dealership claims I still owe them money.

First, I gave them a check for $1,100 dollars to secure payment if my arrangements I made with them fell through. But later I replaced that check with three bank drafts totaling $700 and $400 in cash, which I have no records for anymore. Now they claim I wrote an $1,100 check and they submitted it to the bank and it bounced. But I gave them the bank drafts and the cash before they submitted the check, so they had no right to cash the check. Can they take me to court if there is someone who has pocketed the $400?
-- Levern Grant

Dear Levern,
You're between a rock and a hard place, my friend. It's not clear from your e-mail, but I am assuming they're trying to collect the $400 you say you gave them in cash. Your bank should have records of the three bank draft checks to prove you paid that.

Without a receipt for the $400, however, it's your word against theirs. If you have bank records to show you withdrew $400 on the day you gave them the other bank drafts, that might help bolster your case.

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