Kinda new to the game, and still sorting a few things...
Once you've reached max level, is there a point to the C-Store refits for ships?
...For instance, if I'm a Lieutenant General, would there be any point to getting the refit for the Norgh BoP? From what I understand, there's no reason to use a lower their ship once you've advanced past that tier, yes?
So shelling out for an appearance mod for a ship I'll hardly ever use would be a tad daft, no?
T5 ships tend to be balances against each other. The C-Store ships generally have a Console or special ability that makes them somewhat unique. They also have slightly different BOFF/Console Slot differences, but they're not more powerful. Ship Free will have 12 BOFF spots and Ship Pay will have 12 BOFF spots, they just might be different BOFF spots.
I have 7 characters at level 50 and only 2 of them use C-Store ships. Most of the time I'm not that interested in Saucer Separation, or whatever special ability is being offered. It's really a personal thing, though.
All the lower tier C-store ships also come with something that can be equipped on higher tier ships. For example, the Norgh refit you mention comes with disruptor quad cannons. Not one of the better selling points there, but take the Qorgh refit, which has the bioneural warhead, which is basically a tricobalt torpedo with shields and a point defense weapon to help it reach its target.
Refits are more than just looks. as stated you do get a special console (weapon, engine, science console, etc.) and a slightly altered BOff slot layout. For example, for your two Tac BO slots you might get a commander and Lt. Commander slot instead of a Commander and Lieutenant slot.
So you essentially pay for an extra ship goodie and one extra BO power. And the looks as well.
...So while you get nifty goodies with the refits, going into an STF mission with, say, a Norgh refit would be a foolhardy endeavor. (as well as infuriating to other players)
It seems regardless of refit, lower tier ships are not viable for endgame combat.
Tier 4 refits can sorta pass - they have a tier 5 equivalent console layout, only miss a rear weapon (none at all if it's a science vessel), but their LTC slot is downgraded to an LT, so they loose a strong main-class power. They're still straight up inferior, and you're going to make a lot of people angry, but decently equipped you'll still out perform a lot of the people I see in tricked out tier 5 ships.