While the OP is mentioning Cathar, that's not the only thing he is saying. He is also mentioning customizations and what is basic to games like GW2, the armoring dyes, are going to be a pay service in SWTOR. So indeed, EA/BW is definitely setting a precedent. In GW2, you can color your armor for free. You buy a customization kit for changing your appearance in the market but then you can change anything you want for the one time fee. That is not what EA/BW is doing.
The only thing is.. Unless we can look at what both of the customizations things do in both games.. I don't think it is really fair to compare the two.. I heard that one in SWTOR would allow us to change our race as well.. Having said that I have heard a lot of things.. I haven't seen a list of what it will actually do..
Just my 2 cents..