Domain registration problem

I was going to register the name for my online store, so a few weeks ago I used dreamhost’s website to check if I could register it by going to the registration page and entering it in to see if it was available. It was available, so I just figured once i was done building my site I would come back and register. So today I went to register it and it said it was taken. I thought that was strange but just decided to see if & were available (again by going through the first registration step on dreamhost). it allowed me to register them both, so I started changing all of the logos for my website and came back a few hours later to actually register it and it too was taken. I’m really confused about it & a little worried. I did a WHOIS lookup that was equally as confusing. (said it was registered to “1/2 price store”.)
When a user puts in a domain name at the first step of registration at dreamhost, does it automatically register it even if they do not complete the rest of the registration?
could you please clear this up for me? thanks!

PS. sorry if this is a double post, it didnt show up the first time

Whois records show that all 3 of these names were actually registered since way back in 1999. Buy and sell pre-owned domain names commission-free Domains & DNS Forum