Surprise ? Heck no !
As one of those who's had the Orange "Customer Services" experience this story leaves me totally unsurprised !
It seems that their whole system is geared up to fobbing off the customer and basically doing absolutely anything other than fix the problem. CICAS is a waste of time - they require the service provider to give the customer a dispute reference code, but Orange refused to give one and CICAS just did nothing for me.
Give them a loophole like this and I'm not at all surpriseed they are using it.