Tesco is penalising cash-rich time-poor online customers with a 30% rise in delivery charges as off-peak fees are discounted. Internet shoppers in Hertfordshire and Essex are now being offered three price bands under a new system which will eventually apply to over 85,000 orders nationwide if it continues to prove successful. For delivery before midday the charge is £3.99; between noon and 5.00pm the usual £5 applies; and for those who want "peak" time delivery the cost is £6.49. A spokesman said the pricing trials, which first started from four stores last November, had proved popular with pensioners. He said: "The scheme has taken pressure off our staff as the workload is more evenly spread over the day." But the experimental pricing has been a gift to Waitrose's new online service Ocado as it continues signing up time-pressed shoppers in its Hertfordshire testbed. Ocado offers free delivery for orders over £75 to attract the family shop. Joint md Nigel Robertson said: "Any charge is a barrier to shopping online, our deliveries over £75 are free to encourage shoppers to shop this way, and delivery times are tighter than Tesco anyway." Asda@tHome charges £3.50 for deliveries up to £99, with no charge for over £99. An Asda spokesman said: "Tesco is discriminating against those who have no choice of when they are at home. It is tantamount to putting the supermarket prices up on Friday evenings." Sainsbury's to You charges £5 for deliveries regardless of the time of day. A spokesman said: "We would not rule out peak and off peak charges, but we are concentrating on customer acquisition at the moment and will be sticking to a flat rate." {{NEWS }}