... plenty of instances where players have gotten banned for using said exploits/hacks.
I think this is what people tend to neglect in these threads. Now, I would argue that the number of cheaters (especially in the months since 1.2) is insignificant enough that many people (like me) have never had to deal with them. The important thing, though, is that those few who do resort to cheating are punished in a timely fashion.
Out of curiosity, I did a search for "swtor cheating bans". One of the first links that popped up was a forum for hacks and such. Within, there were many posters talking about getting banned for cheating. What was especially telling, though, was that manyof these cheaters weren't using obvious speed hacks in pvp, but had used bots to run space missions. (there were also your run-of-the-mill pvp cheaters complaining about getting banned, too)
So, not only does BW catch what few pvp cheaters pop up, they also catch cheaters that are never observed by other players. If you think someone is cheating and report them, they will get banned IF they are actually cheating. The problem is that in many of these threads, there are people who simply don't understand how all the classes and specs work. These people file erroneous reports without checking their combat logs or doing any research / testing to see if what they experienced was actually a legitimate ability or a common bug. They then come to the forums to vent, and nothing constructive is accomplished.
If you're not going to take the time to check your facts before reporting someone, please be smart enough to at least be discreet about your possibly frivolous reporting. Just suck it up and acknowledge the possibility that you were simply outplayed. If the person you reported was hacking, they will be punished. If not, re-read two sentences back.