I do know you can't tell much from the size of the photos you'd posted
This is a fake wrapper as tong qing hao tea don't go for so cheap, also it's not 2004. In China it's a less than <US$3.50 cake.
The question should be why the cheap price? If you think it looks ugly based on the surface, it'll likely look worst on the inside
Meaning the material used on the other layer is different from what's use inside.
It doesn't have to be fake pu-erh within, just cos it's cheap. Look at XG boyan brick which is made from bits and pieces, 250g retail for less than US$2. Merchants and XG still make good profits off these low grade tea.
I never did tasted that 2004 before, but if you think that's drinkable, try the 2007 nan qiao iron bing selling the same price. It's uglier but the material and flavor are decent enough for the price.
The appearance tells the workmanship, storage, grade and to the seasoned eyes a possibility of where the tea comes from. The mildness is likely the indication that it's low grade material, personally I'll be more troubled paying that price and get a really strong flavor (unless it's full of huangpian).
To me labeling it as a 2004 (when it's not), is indirectly asking you to drink now
Bitter goes hand-in-hand with huigan, if it's not bitter how's the huigan and shengjin? For pu erh, most feel huigan and shengjin are more important factors compared to bitter and astringency.
IMHO, washing twice is a good practice, regardless how clean the tea looks.
Anyway good looking cake/brick/tuo doesn't mean good tea. The final say if how you find the taste. Some pu erh doesn't have great taste, they are mainly sold to be used in blends, mainly cos of the price. But there'll be people trying to market it as something premium and sold it as a pure source for much higher price
My personal view is if one is willing to try custom brand tea, white paper/fake wrapper/etc tea is just the same. The profit margin for premium brand is high even in local. Those who buy tea off China online will likely know premium market brand, likely u can get a good discount if you are good at bargaining
DY and XG do semi-ferment some material in order to get certain taste for their tea. They also add in some aged material, which is normally in their mild to high range products.
One of the reasons why DY and XG are successful is because they understand taste matters. They also have good workmanship for their blends. BUT (IMO) if you think they only use higher grade material, then you could be blinded by their marketing
Stressed again, it's all down to the taste. If you can accept the condition of the cake and it taste good to you. Don't let others opinion and brand marketing fool you to think otherwise.
Some may disagree, but it's cool to disagree